Do Australians get enough help when they have problems overseas or do they have unrealistic expectations of what can be done in a foreign country? Watch Insight ‘In Trouble Abroad’ starting at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday on SBS TV or.
It was supposed to be the time of my life, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the art and sights I had always dreamed of. But in 2014, my working holiday in Europe quickly turned into a nightmare and I was begging to be taken back to Australia.
My friends encouraged me to meet them in Prague, Czech Republic, a city that really looked like a fairy tale country. I learned while trying to find my hostel that even getting lost in Prague is a blessing.
My stay at the inn felt like it had been given to me by fate. I felt that I was part of a family. It wasn’t long before Prague got my heart, and I started helping out at the hostel in exchange for free accommodation.
I came home one night and stayed up with some friends. We had drinks all night and reminisced about the ‘family’ breakup with a member of staff returning to South America.
I insisted that we go outside to smoke a cigarette in the usual place, a roof three meters wide, eight meters long and very flat. It was more like a balcony. I climbed out the bedroom window, thinking it would lead to the roof, but it didn’t.
I fell about four stories and hit the asphalt.
Jordan and his friend Sam in Prague
My injuries were serious. I had a broken pelvis on both sides, broken elbows, internal bleeding, major concussion, broken ribs, deflated lung and ruptured spleen.
I woke up the next day and phoned my parents back home in Australia and told them to sit down while I broke the news.
My mother was on the next available flight to Prague. She phoned my travel insurance company and got a call from the Australian Embassy in Poland to tell them what had happened.
A travel insurance assessor quickly arrived and asked me lots of questions about what had happened, while I was delirious with all sorts of painkillers.
On the fifth day in intensive care, surgery on my elbows was canceled after my travel insurance was refused.
They told me it was because I was under the influence of alcohol and tried to sit on the roof which was considered a high risk activity.
I felt like the travel insurance company saw me as someone they didn’t want to pay. My mom had to max out her credit cards one at a time until the bill was paid and I could have surgery.
My pelvis needed screwing down to stabilize it, and from there it only got worse. My organs kept bleeding, my spleen had ruptured and I needed emergency surgery.
The Australian Embassy called me every other day to make sure I was okay and to provide phone numbers for an interpreter. When I asked for more support, I did not receive any because
Every day the medical bills increased and my only other option was to be evacuated from Prague at an estimated cost of over $100,000.
Since that wasn’t feasible, I practiced sitting still for 20 minutes at a stretch so I could get home on a scheduled flight. I was still unable to move my body, I was stuck in the position the nurse had put me in all day.
After about five weeks I was released from the hospital and couldn’t have been happier. After being medically cleared to fly in my medical condition, I returned to Australia with my mother.
Thanks to the tremendous help from my parents and the incredible crowdfunding from my local community, I was able to return home and continue my recovery with continued medical treatment.
I am now completely healed, with a few scars and one organ missing (the spleen), but my dreams and my happiness are still there. I have been truly blessed with the love and support of so many people to bring me home.
Now I tell people to be careful when drinking alcohol while on vacation, because travel insurers are not going to be your friends.