Holiday health hell

Point Cook's Ki Kim in the ICU ward of a Chinese hospital. (supplied) 402558_01

Cade Lucas

A Point Cook man stranded overseas after falling sick while on holiday, has launched a gofundme page to cover his medical expenses and get he and his family back to Australia.

Point Cook’s Ki Kim is currently stuck in South Korea where he is recovering from a viral infection caught while travelling in China and which resulted in him being admitted to intensive care with multiple organ failure.

A hospitality worker, Ki, his wife Angela and baby were staying in the northern Chinese city of Dalian late last month when he suddenly fell ill.

“I went out for dinner and I had a few drinks and I felt uncomfortable,” recalled Ki of how the ordeal began late on the night of March 24.

“We came back home around 10 or 11 o’clock that night and at 12 o’clock on the 25th of March, I started vomiting and having diarrhoea all night.”

After taking medication, Ki’s condition briefly improved, before rapidly deteriorating the following afternoon.

“At lunchtime I started shaking a lot,” he said of the moment he decided to go to the local hospital near where they were staying outside Dalian.

“As soon as I got into hospital my temperature was like 39.5 degrees and I was not feeling good. I was vomiting and everything was going wrong from there,” Ki said.

“My heart rate was 185, my liver was 1915, I was short of oxygen, I had low blood pressure and just everything added up together and was failing.”

His dire physical state soon affected Ki’s mental health too as he began halucinating.

“I was just going off saying stupid stuff, talking weird and three or four times I stopped, stunned, for three or four minutes. I couldn’t move.”

Transferred to one of Dalian’s major hospitals, Ki was sent straight to ICU where he spent three nights while doctors tried to work out what was going on.

Eventually Ki was diagnosed with sepsis, acute gastroenteritis and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome or MODS. After two weeks he was well enough to take the one hour flight to his native South Korea, where he was born before emigrating to Australia and where unlike China, he knew the language.

Now staying in an apartment in Seoul while having regular treatment at a nearby hospital and taking medication, Ki’s medical condition has improved, but he and his family’s finances have not.

“I don’t have travel insurance and I’m a foreigner so in China and Korea, everything costs time and a half or two times. In Australia, everything’s free, but here even just blood tests are like $300 or $400. In ICU it was a couple of grand for per-night and just in the hospital it was like $1,000 every night.”

Then there’s the cost of changing flights, accommodation and medication, leading Ki to start a gofundme page which has has so far raised $7500.

The family hope to return to Australia next month and Ki said any donation would be appreciated.

“Just a little help will be better than nothing.”