Birmingham & Black Country

Maxine Howell: Holiday medical bill mother conscious

Maxine Howell Image copyright Family handout
Image caption The family of Maxine Howell said they are living in a "nightmare"

A woman taken critically ill in Mexico, who found insurers would not fund her £300,000 medical bill, is conscious and "communicating using raised eyebrows", her family said.

Maxine Howell, from West Bromwich, was put in an induced coma after suffering pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

She had been in Cancun to celebrate her 50th birthday when she was taken ill.

Daughter Aneke Pye said she had had a tracheotomy and was using a ventilator "until her lungs are strong enough".

Insurance firm Axa will only pay 10.25% towards Ms Howell's bill after she did not disclose an inhaler prescription. However, her family said she had never used it.

Axa has said it is looking into the case.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Maxine Howell was on a birthday trip to Cancun when she fell ill

Ms Pye, 32, who said her mother remains at Sandwell Hospital after flying back last month, said: "She can't talk because of the tracheotomy, but has been communicating raising her eyebrows.

"It's positive she's conscious, but has a long road to recovery."

Ms Howell, a mother-of-three, had an 18-night stay at the CostaMed hospital, in Playa del Carmen, after insurers said she had to be treated there, her family said.

The private care cost £11,600 per night - totalling £208,800 - and a medical plane home cost almost £100,000.

Doctors made four landings - twice in America and once in both Canada and Iceland - during her repatriation back to the UK after concerns over her heart.

An Axa spokeswoman said: "Our primary concern is getting Ms Howell the care she needs, and doing all we can to help and support her family, during this difficult time."

A crowdfunding page set up by the family has so far raised more than £10,000.

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