British woman in coma dies in Spain

A British holidaymaker has died in Spain after falling into a coma.

Travel Insurance News - 27/06/2011

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A British woman on a short break in Spain has died after falling into a coma. Jill Tyson, who was 47 and from Colwyn Bay, Wales, had arrived in Majorca for a short break starting Saturday. She was staying at Magaluf, one of the Spanish island’s top resort destinations.

A few hours after departing the plane, however, Ms Tyson started to suffer convulsions. She was rushed to a hospital, where she fell unconscious.

Ms Tyson was carrying a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), so she was eligible to receive emergency medical treatment. Unfortunately, she had no travel insurance so her family could not have her flown back to the UK.

Many travellers misunderstand the cover they get from the EHIC. The card provides the carrier with cheap or free medical treatment in state-run hospitals everywhere in Europe. They do not, however, provide for emergency repatriation, which often costs many thousands of pounds.

According to media reports, Ms Tyson’s family are still trying to arrange for her body to be brought home. Her sister reportedly said that she never recovered from the coma.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirms that Ms Tyson has died and that it is providing her family with consular assistance. So far, there is no information on what caused Ms Tyson to fall into a coma.

Both the FCO and many insurance companies regularly publish reports showing the shockingly high percentage of people who travel abroad without sufficient emergency cover. Many people fail to understand the limitations of the EHIC and others apparently see travel insurance as an expensive and unneeded extra.

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