A SCOTS holidaymaker who needed life-saving surgery has been told he cannot fly home until the £5,500 bill is paid.
Paul Mackie jetted off to Marmaris, Turkey, ignoring his father’s advice to buy health insurance.
The 30-year-old from Edinburgh was struck down by burst stomach ulcers and needed keyhole surgery to save his life.
The Turkish authorities have told Paul that he cannot leave the country until he has settled his hospital bill or made a significant downpayment.
His friends and family are now desperately trying to raise cash to pay for the surgery and get him back to Scotland.
Paul’s father, Allan, and his brothers, Jordan, 18, and Christopher, 22, went on the holiday but had to leave him behind to return home.
They travelled to the Mediterranean resort at the end of June, looking forward to a family break in the sun.
Allan said his son became crippled with pain on Friday last week, nine days into the break.
“I told him half a dozen to a dozen times ‘make sure you get insurance’,” said Allan.
“He said: ‘I’ll be fine, I’ve been away 11 times and nothing has happened to me.’ You can’t argue, they know better.”
He added: “All of a sudden Paul was in extreme pain. We had to get the doctor out to the room. He thought it was cramps from the heat or something. They put him on a drip to see if that would ease it and gave him painkillers.”
After failing to improve, Rush was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Doctors diagnosed burst ulcers which had to be treated urgently using keyhole surgery.
Although the procedure saved his life, Paul, who was discharged after a week, was initially presented with a bill for £11,000.
After discussions with hospital management, that has been reduced to £5,500 – but it is still far more than Paul can afford to pay.
Allan said his son had visited the doctor complaining of stomach pains shortly before the break. He was given tablets but the ulcers were not diagnosed.
He said: “We’ve gone out on holiday and binged a couple of nights, as you do, and it’s affected his ulcer.
“That sort of thing can kill you. It’s a lot better at the end of the day that they saved his life, but it’s still a lot of money. We don’t have that type of cash.”
Paul is now trying to mount a fundraising campaign from his hotel room in Turkey while friends and family have organised a fundraising night in Edinburgh this Friday.