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Grandmother set to fly home after spending two months in Florida hospital in critical condition

PUBLISHED: 18:09 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:17 14 February 2018

Lorraine Romeo in hospital after undergoing an emergency tracheostomy. Picture: Malcolm Romeo.

Lorraine Romeo in hospital after undergoing an emergency tracheostomy. Picture: Malcolm Romeo.

Archant

A Lowestoft grandmother who has spent almost two months in hospital after being rushed into intensive care while on a family holiday in Florida, could finally be flying home.

Malcolm Romeo at the hospital in Florida with his mum Lorraine. Picture: Malcolm Romeo. Malcolm Romeo at the hospital in Florida with his mum Lorraine. Picture: Malcolm Romeo.

Lorraine Romeo, 56, flew out to the USA on December 19 with 10 members of her family for the holiday of a lifetime, but eight days into the trip she became unwell, and after being rushed to hospital was diagnosed with influenza B and pneumococcal pneumonia.

Ms Romeo, who suffers with lung conditions chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema, was struggling to breathe and surgeons were forced to perform an emergency tracheostomy to help her.

Now, having spent almost two months in hospital with son Malcolm Romeo by her side, her condition has improved enough for her to travel home.

Lorraine Romeo pictured a few days before being admitted to hospital while on holiday in Florida. Picture: Malcolm Romeo. Lorraine Romeo pictured a few days before being admitted to hospital while on holiday in Florida. Picture: Malcolm Romeo.

However doctors will not allow her to fly unless she is accompanied by a doctor and other medical equipment including a supply of oxygen.

The bill for her treatment is already more than $100,000 and despite her family saying she disclosed her full medical history to her insurance company, World First, prior to travelling, they are refusing to pay out.

Mr Romeo, 23, who also travelled with his six-year-old son Amarley, said: “Mum has soldiered through but she still can’t walk or talk properly. They have given her a voice cap on her throat to help her get her voice back but she still can’t talk very well.

Malcolm Romeo with his partner Daniella and son Amarley, who also travelled to Florida on holiday. Picture: Malcolm Romeo. Malcolm Romeo with his partner Daniella and son Amarley, who also travelled to Florida on holiday. Picture: Malcolm Romeo.

“We contacted the insurers as soon as mum went into hospital. We did everything they asked and put them in contact with the hospital. Then about six weeks after they denied her claim, leaving us with no financial aid.”

Malcolm said they had needed around £10,000 to pay for the doctor and equipment to bring his mum home, and the family had a go fund me page, but in a turn of luck, Dr P Phillips Hospital, where Ms Romeo is being cared for, has agreed to provide the funds.

Mr Romeo thanked everyone who had donated, and said refunds will be issued by go fund me in the next few days.

A spokesman from Emergency Assistance Facilities, which has been undertaking the medical assistance on behalf of World First for the Romeo family, said it was not a straightforward case. He said they had been assisting Ms Romeo and family as much as possible.

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