Walden family launches fundraising appeal to get great-grandfather back from the Middle East

Gordon Griffiths Gordon Griffiths

Monday, April 7, 2014
6:40 PM

The family of an octogenarian stranded in an Abu Dhabi hospital after falling ill during a visit have launched a desperate fundraising appeal to get him home.

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Gordon Griffiths, 83, of Langley Upper Green near Saffron Walden, flew out to the United Arab Emirates capital on February 12 to see one of his daughters but experienced breathing difficulties two weeks into his trip.

He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia, which developed into sepsis, and has been in intensive care ever since.

His family said doctors will not allow him to take a commercial flight home because of the severity of his condition. Instead he must travel back by air ambulance at a cost of AED 250,000, equivalent to £41,000.

Mr Griffith’s medical bills are racking up with every passing day he spends in hospital and his family are struggling to afford them.

His granddaughter, Serena Start, of Castle Cross, Saffron Walden, told the Reporter Mr Griffiths’ travel insurance may be void because the company is claiming his care is the result of an underlying health condition which had not been disclosed.

She said: “The doctors won’t give us a clear prognosis of what is wrong with him but said he had a chronic lung condition.

“The travel insurance company is saying he had it before he went but he didn’t. My granddad has had breathing problems throughout his life, but we put it down to asthma.”

Mrs Start, a palliative carer, added: “His doctor gave him the OK to fly. My granddad didn’t ignore his age. He said this would probably be his last trip, one he has made every year for the past 20 years.

“This is just a terrible situation. I’m not blaming anyone, I just want my granddad home.”

Mr Griffiths, who has seven children, 15 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, is continuing to fight for his life in hospital.

His family is arranging a series of fundraising events, beginning this Sunday, to help get him back to the UK.

The fundraiser, at the Trumpington Pavilion, on the King George V Playing Field, Paget Road, Cambridge, will include a BBQ, bouncy castle, music, bric-a-brac, cake sale, raffle and much more. It will run from 11am-3pm.

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