Wednesday, August 28, 2013
South Korean hospital wont transfer American home until $40K bill is paid....
The family of an American man stranded in a South Korean hospital is asking for donations to bring him home.
Sean Jones, a young teacher from Oklahoma City, has been hospitalized since May with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes swelling in the brain.
Jones' family wants him transferred to an American hospital for continued treatment, but Yonsei University Severance Hospital in Seoul reportedly refuses to release him until his bill of nearly $40,000 is paid.
Friends and family have set up a Facebook page and a Giveforward.com account to raise money for medical costs. So far they have raised about three-quarters of the goal, Sean's mother, LaTanya Dodd, told The Korea Herald.
I really dont know if they can legally hold him here. If they cant legally do so, he will be going, said Dodd, who came to South Korea in July to care for her son, to the paper. They wont care for him anymore, and thats what Im worried about. Is that going to affect the whole outcome just sitting here waiting?
Jones was moved to a group room and suffers from bedsores due to a lack of care, family members said.
The recent college grad, described as outgoing and passionate about education, had been teaching English in Hwajung for nearly a year when he began experiencing headaches and hallucinations.
Doctors first prescribed antidepressants and told him to rest, but his condition worsened. He was admitted to the hospital two days later with a fever of 108 degrees.
Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis was identified in 2007, and only a few hundred cases have been documented worldwide. It can cause personality changes and psychotic symptoms.
I was told before I got here the reason was that they were scared because he was violent," Dodd said. "He was having violent outbursts (because of the disease). He was very difficult for me, too, when I got here, but they expect me to do it alone.
The disease is often fatal, but Sean appears to be recovering without brain damage, though he has suffered a dramatic weight loss.
According to The Korea Herald, the U.S. embassy arranged for a doctor to fly with Jones to a hospital in Indianapolis on Sept. 4, but the Korean hospital refuses to transfer him.
Embassy officials and Jones' family were not immediately available for comment to The News, but older brother Brandon Jones spoke with Oklahoma City's News9 over the weekend.
"The goal is really just to help with his medical bills, and hopefully with no speed bumps, we can actually get him back in the United States," Brandon Jones told the station.