Paralysed English Teacher Flies Home After Deadbeat Travel Insurers Back Down

Published on 5th February 2019 by Stickboy BKK

Paralysed English Teacher Flies Home

An American English teacher who woke up in Surat Thani paralysed from the neck down has finally gone home.

Caroline Bradner, 22, travelled 36 hours back to her central Virginia home of Herico after her insurance company backed down on its refusal to cover her transport. She has now begun physical therapy at a hometown hospital.

Bradner, teaching primary school children through Xplore Asia, a programme that connects English-language teachers with schools in Thailand, began feeling weak before Christmas. She went to a local hospital, which gave her the usual bag full of colourful pills and sent her home.

The next morning she awoke unable to move.

It turned out Bradner was stricken with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an inflammatory autoimmune disorder that affects an estimated one in 100,000 people and can cause widespread paralysis. It can take months or years to recover.

GBS typically is triggered by an infection like food poisoning from campylobacter bacteria. It causes the immune system to attack nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and paralysis. While most people recover fully from GBS, some have lasting nerve damage. A few have died.

While Thai doctors quickly diagnosed GBS, Bradner’s travel insurance company said it would not cover the emergency transport home. Her family turned to GoFundMe and, in two days, raised the US$70,000 goal, shaming the insurance firm in the process.

The next day, the deadbeat insurance adjusters said they’d had a change of heart and would pay up. The Bradners told donors – nearly all of whom contributed less than $100 each – that the money would be used for Brandner’s hospital bills in Thailand and for rehab back home.

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