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Sean Kenzie on Phuket with a  doctor who flew to New Zealand with him

Phuket Crash Victim Struggles to Regain His Old Life

Sunday, October 21, 2012
PHUKET: A tourist badly injured in a motorcycle crash on Phuket believes his life has been drastically changed for the worse.

Sean Kenzie, once a well-paid roofer but now applying for government hand-outs, regrets that when he obtained travel insurance for his Phuket holiday, he wasn't told he needed to pay extra to cover riding a motorcycle.

His savings are gone and he has needed reconstructive surgery in New Zealand for a shattered jaw, crushed teeth and a knee reconstruction.

''It's not where I would have seen myself at 27. I've spent the last 12 years trying not to be like that," Mr Kenzie told a NZ news outlet.

''It's taken my life, being able to work, having the money that my job used to bring in. I'm living on the bones of my ass.''

More than three months have passed since Mr Kenzie went from Australia, where he had been working, to Phuket for ''palm trees, pina coladas and beaches.''

Knocked down from behind on his first day on Phuket, Mr Kenzie became embroiled in a row with payment for treatment at Bangkok Hospital Phuket then was moved to Vachira Phuket Hospital.

Vachira specialises in treating the victims of motorcycle crashes but as a public hospital, it is underresourced. Mr Kenzie told the New Zealand media that he was placed in a ''grotty,'' rat-infested ward with 50 others.

However, when Phuketwan interviewed him at Vachira Phuket, he had been moved to a private room.

Back in Napier, New Zealand, with his girlfriend Amy Myles helping with his care, Mr Kenzie makes do with daytime television and walking the dog on the beach, which is more than he got to do on Phuket.

Mr Kenzie is still riled because he says he wanted the top level of holiday insurance and that's what he asked for with Perth insurers, Cover-More.

However, he says he wasn't told that there was a surcharge of $30 for full coverage when riding a motorcycle or scooter on Phuket.

Because he didn't have that kind of coverage, insurance did not cover his emergency surgery and recovery care at Bangkok Hospital Phuket.

Only with the generosity of family, friends and strangers was he able to pay off most of his $28,000 medical bill, then the $54,000 to fly home in a medical evacuation.

Having not paid the extra $30 for motorcycle coverage, he reckons the bill now stands at $80,000. He continues to pay in other ways as well.

Tourists and expats are involved in motorcycle crashes on Phuket in numbers out of proportion to their percentage of the overall population.

Phuket's Public Health department is campaigning to reduce the road toll on Phuket but has not released monthly updates since April.

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