ItHome Cardiac Arrest Wife of retired West Yorkshire police officer critically ill after heart attack in Tenerife faces €20,000 bill as insurance refuse claim

Wife of retired West Yorkshire police officer critically ill after heart attack in Tenerife faces €20,000 bill as insurance refuse claim

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Wife of retired West Yorkshire police officer critically ill after heart attack in Tenerife faces €20,000 bill as insurance refuse claim
Bill  Annable pictured in hospital in Tenerife with wife Dot.
Bill Annable pictured in hospital in Tenerife with wife Dot.

Dot Annable and her 75-year-old husband Bill were two weeks into a four week holiday in Playa De Las Americas when he suffered a heart attack before falling and striking his head on the pavement on November 14.

Mrs Annable, 64, said her husband, a former West Yorkshire Police officer, has suffered brain damage.

He is now out of a coma but is in an unresponsive state and is in a respite care hospital in Santa Cruz, the island’s capital.

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Bill and Dot Annable

Mrs Annable said that when he applied for travel insurance with Avanti, her husband declared that he had hypertension, which he was taking medication for.

She also said Avanti were made aware that he had had a successful operation two years ago to unblock an artery in his right leg and that he was waiting to undergo the same procedure in his left leg.

Avanti have said Mr Annable was made aware when buying the policy that the company couldn’t cover him for heart-related conditions due to the surgery he was awaiting on an artery.

Mrs Annable is still staying more than an hour’s drive away in Playa De Las Americas, but cannot visit him at the hospital until January 10 due to Covid restrictions at all Spanish hospitals.

Bill Annable pictured when he was a West Yorkshire Police officer

Mrs Annable, who was previously allowed to visit him, said: “It’s heartbreaking, I’m devastated. Even though Bill doesn’t know I’m there I can at least hold his hand and talk to him.”

Mrs Annable said a debt collection agency has sent a bill to the couple’s home in Pontefract for €20,000 for treatment he received at a private hospital – Hospiten Sur in Playa De Las Americas – plus €4,000 interest.

Mr Annable was taken by ambulance to Hospiten Sur in Playa after he suffered the heart attack and fall on November 14.

Bill and Dot Annable

Mrs Annable said his European Health Insurance Card was not accepted at that hospital as he was covered by private insurance.

She said she was told at that hospital that his travel insurance would cover the hospital costs.

But after four days and nights in the hospital – during which time Mr Annable underwent an angiogram and surgery to insert a stent – Mrs Annable discovered his medical bill was more than €20,000 and that his insurance had not agreed to pay.

Mr Annable was then transferred to a public hospital in Santa Cruz, where he was treated under the European Health Insurance Card scheme.

Bill Annable pictured when he was a West Yorkshire Police officer.

He was in an intensive care unit and then stayed on a cardiac ward at that hospital until being transferred to the respite care hospital on Friday January 1.

But Mrs Annable said Mr Annable had never had heart problems before suffering the heart attack on November 14.

She said her husband’s GP has provided the last two years of his medical history, which she said shows he did not have a heart problem.

She said Avanti said they will pay for bills for the first 24 hours in the private hospital, which is €1,000, plus the €675 cost for the private ambulance, which transported Mr Annable from Playa to Santa Cruz.

Mrs Annable said: “Everything was declared. They took the premium. When William collapsed they got in contact and said ‘you will not be insured because of William’s underlying heart issues.

“I phoned them up and said he didn’t have heart issues, he was as strong as an ox.

“If we had known he had an underlying heart problem we wouldn’t have come on holiday to Tenerife, because he would have been classed as vulnerable, especially with the Covid situation.”

Mrs Annable said: “I just want to get over to anybody who is taking medication for hypertension and if they are going on holiday, to check out their travel insurance.

“They took the money. We didn’t know Bill had an underlying heart problem. I don’t think he did have an underlying heart problem, it just happened.

“We had a lovely first two weeks here with no problems. Exactly two weeks into the holiday, he collapsed.

“I want to inform members of the public to be very careful when they take insurance out, especially if they are taking medication for hypertension.”

A spokesperson for Avanti, said: “We were extremely sorry to hear about the case of Mr Annable and would like to offer our condolences to Mrs Annable at this difficult time.

“When purchasing the policy, Mr Annable was made aware that we couldn’t cover him for heart-related conditions due to the surgery he was awaiting on an artery.

“We are, though, continuing to work with the Annables to offer them assistance as we speak.

“We urge any customers with concerns about exclusions on their policy to check their terms and contact us if they have any questions.”

Mr Annable’s friend Steven Spencer, who launched the JustGiving appeal, said: “There are people that don’t know him who have given very generous amounts.

“If I could thank them and shake all their hands I would do.”

He said the appeal is still open and any excess cash after the flight has been paid for will go towards the hospital bill and anything that may be left over will go to charity.

Commenting on support for the appeal, Mrs Annable said: “I am so thankful. I can’t believe what people have donated, what they have done to get Bill back.”

Yvette Cooper, Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford, and Knottingley, said: “This is a really awful situation for Mr Annable and his family – everyone will really feel for their family right now.

“I’m urgently seeking assistance from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for the family both to help bring Mr Annable safely home and to help deal with this huge healthcare bill.

“No family should have to go through this. The community support from Mr Annable’s friends, family and former police colleagues has been really powerful but we need the Government to help.”

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