Man stuck in Thailand with a brain tumour will get air ambulance home
KITCHENER -- A Kitchener man was on vacation with his wife in Thailand when he found out that he had a brain tumour.
Alex Witmer and his wife Jennifer both quit their jobs out east earlier this year, with plans to move back to Alex's hometown of Kitchener.
They decided to take a trip to Thailand first. But halfway through their six-week vacation, the man didn't feel like himself: he started getting severe migraines.
He went to the hospital, where he found out the news.
"Within two hours of checking in, they had told us it was a malignant brain tumour," Jennifer Witmer says.
Her husband bought travel insurance through Allianz before they left, but the couple says it was declined due to what the insurance company calls a pre-existing medical condition.
Witmer did seek medical attention over a month ago, when the pair lived in Moncton, N.B.
Allianz Travel's website defines a pre-existing condition as "an injury, illness or medical condition that caused someone to seek treatment, presented symptoms or required medication. This may have taken place anytime within 120 days prior to and including the plan's purchase date."
"He went to the ER for vomiting and had a mild headache," his wife remembers.
"We waited a few hours for a doctor and couldn’t see one, so we ended up going home."
He felt better in a couple days, so they assumed it was the flu.
After initially having their emergency air ambulance from Thailand back home cancelled by their insurance company, the couple confirmed Monday night they will be able to get home after all.
In a social media post on Monday, Jennifer said their insurance company will now arrange a medical transport home, despite their insurance claim still being under review.
A Toronto neurosurgeon has already agreed to do the brain surgery when Witmer gets back to Ontario.
But their fight may not be over: Witmer's mother tells CTV that his condition has worsened and it's no longer safe for him to fly commercially.
Doctors in Thailand say that he has to take the air ambulance home. His mother says she's been contacted by lawyers and air ambulances around the world offering to help.
In a statement, Allianz told CTV News on Tuesday morning that they will be covering all of his expenses.
"We are working with Mr. Witmer’s treating physicians in Thailand to bring him and his wife home to Canada as quickly and safely as possible. His medical treatment and expenses abroad and transport home will be fully covered," says Vice President of Market Management Dan Keon.
CTV confirmed that Witmer would be coming back to Canada by air ambulance.
The specific details of Witmer's return aren't yet known.