Frankley OAP denied 'last goodbye' with dead wife in £20k Cuba medical
13:38, 24 JUL 2016 UPDATED 13:38, 24 JUL 2016
BY ANNETTE BELCHER
Widower talks for first time of 'hell' at losing Sheila Dumbleton during
dream holiday on paradise isle
A grief-stricken pensioner said his wife was "left to die" in a Cuban
hospital - because they could not pay a £20,000 medical bill.
Ray Dumbleton said he was even banned from saying a last goodbye to his
beloved Sheila, his soulmate of 34 years, as her body lay alone .
The 67-year-old, from Frankley , said his ordeal was like "hell on Earth".
He said: "If you think of a World War Two scene, then that might just
start to come close."
Sheila died in hospital in Holguin, Cuba, after falling ill on the sixth
day of what had been planned as the couple's 'dream holiday'.
Despite taking out 'gold cover' travel insurance, she was unable to
claim for her medical treatment and was left with a £20,000 medical bill.
The 57-year-old, who suffered a stroke, a bleed on the brain and other
complications, died while she was receiving treatment in hospital.
Now, her distraught family have been ordered to settle her medical bill
to pay and must also find an extra £7,000 to bring Sheila's body home.
"It felt that, as soon as the hospital knew we couldn't pay, they left
her to deteriorate," Ray said.
Sheila's daughter, Erica McCleary, and her stepbrother Lance Dumbleton
"All the doctors kept saying to us was 'payment, payment' but we didn't
have the money to give them.
"The conditions in that hospital were horrendous – something I find hard
to put into words.
"There were dead bodies left uncovered.
"It was as if they didn't care about people's dignity.
"They wouldn't even allow me to see my wife's body and pay my last
respects to her.
"They just kept saying it was Cuban law.
"I will never get that chance again. They have broken my heart,
"I kept saying: 'Forget Cuban law, I want to see my wife'.
"But they would not allow me that last moment with her.
"I felt powerless over there.
"At one point they even threatened to put me into prison if I carried on
demanding to see her.
"As soon as Sheila died, it felt like they couldn't get me out of the
country quickly enough.
"It was like nothing I had ever seen before – I was treated like a VIP,
ushered straight through customs and there were no security checks.
"Now, I am glad to be back home but I will cannot rest until Sheila is
back here with her family.
"The only saving grace was that I did meet some lovely people out there
and without them, I probably would not have got through this ordeal."
A spokesman for White Horse Insurance Ireland, with whom the couple had
travel insurance, said: "We were very sorry to hear of Mrs Dumbleton's
"Regrettably, as Mrs Dumbleton's medical history was not disclosed, her
claim was not covered by her insurance policy."
Relatives launched a fundraising drive when they discovered Sheila had
fallen ill and would be unable to claim on her insurance.
A GoFund me campaign was launched to pay the medical bill and bring her
home alive – but she died before the target could be reached.
"We have raised more than £4,000 already, so if it's just the £7,000
then we could probably do it," said daughter Erica McCleary.
"But we still don't know if they will allow us to bring Mum home without
paying the medical bill.
"I cannot begin to say how generous and kind people have been after
reading about our story.
"We have had complete strangers offering us large amounts of money. One
person even offered us their life savings just so that we can get Mum's
"We just want Mum home with us so we are able to grieve properly, as a
"It's good to finally have Ray home with us after him being stuck out
there for a month but we need to be allowed to grieve properly.
"This whole process has been a nightmare and it's still not over.
"We managed to go out and see Mum when she first fell ill but we were
not allowed much time with her. and we didn't really feel like she was
being cared for properly."
Sheila became a great-grandmother while she was in Cuba but never got to
meet her first great grandchild.
Source: Frankley OAP denied 'last goodbye' with dead wife in £20k Cuba
medical bill row - Birmingham Mail -