A British expat who survived a suicide jump from his sixth-floor apartment is now confined to a Thailand hospital until his more than 400,000 baht in fees are paid.
Ian Mitchell-Barnes, 56, suffered “catastrophic” injuries in the Oct. 16 leap, breaking his pelvis, both arms and both legs. He had one foot amputated on Oct. 25 and is still dealing with a serious infection.
“Barney”, a father of two from Solihull in the U.K.’s West Midlands has no insurance despite chronic diabetes and will not qualify for National Health Service benefits once he’s repatriated. The burden of getting home has fallen on sister Jane Mitchell Barnes, who launched fundraisers on both Facebook and JustGiving.com.
To date, just under 300,000 baht has been rasied. His hospital bills currently are estimated at 402,000 baht. His sister told the media that they are prepared to cover his bills once he’s back with family.
Barnes moved to Thailand five years ago after retiring from the baggage-handling section at British Airways. When the pandemic hit, he opted to stay in Thailand, despite not having any work or health insurance.
His sister said that he has been very isolated in the past six months, choosing to stay at home because he believed his diabetes put him at significant risk if he should catch Covid-19, despite Thailand largely being free of the disease for the past four months.
Recently, friends reported him in poor mental health, which came as a surprise to his sister.
“He’s been on his own all through the pandemic. We thought he was doing okay – or so it seemed,” she wrote on Facebook. “He sent no messages and gave no indication that he was suffering so badly.”
Jane Mitchell-Barnes said that the British Foreign Office confirmed the hospital was within its rights to withhold is passport for unpaid bills, leaving him unable to return home.
She said the goal is to get him well enough to travel, pay the hospital and get the hell out of Thailand.