Shropshire

Telford man flying home after heart attack in Thailand

Chris Masters stroking an elephant's trunk Image copyright Yvonne Masters
Image caption Chris Masters went on an elephant ride in Bangkok the day before he had a heart attack

A British tourist recovering from a heart attack in Thailand is on his way to a hospital back home after a fight to find a bed.

Chris Masters, 44, left Bangkok at 03:00 BST for the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, his family said.

He was taken ill on holiday - but when he was fit to fly, his insurers said his local NHS did not have a bed.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust (SATH) said it had been "very busy recently" but had now found a bed.

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Image copyright Yvonne Masters
Image caption Yvonne and Chris Masters enjoying their holiday before his heart attack

Mr Masters is being moved via medical evacuation air ambulance - often called Medivac and is expected to arrive at hospital late this evening.

Yvonne Masters thought her previously fit and healthy husband had sun stroke when he fell ill after their first week on holiday.

Mr Masters, from Telford, went to hospital in Phuket before being flown to Bangkok for specialist treatment.

His aunt Jenny Houghton said doctors had saved his life and called the care he received "wonderful".

Mr Masters was certified fit to fly, but SATH said it had no beds. His family hoped he could be transferred to Birmingham where his parents live - or anywhere else in the UK.

But his insurer, MAPFRE Assistance, said hospitals outside his catchment area "would not consider accepting a patient unless under extreme circumstances".

Image copyright Yvonne Masters
Image caption Chris Masters' family is "desperate" for him to come home

Debbie Kadum, chief operating officer at SATH, said: "Our hospitals have been very busy recently and we would like to apologise to this gentleman's family for the delays they have faced in repatriating him.

"We have identified a bed for this gentleman and understand that the repatriation team and hospital staff in Thailand are aiming for him to be transferred to one of our intensive therapy units."

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