Kiwi mum fighting for life in Bali intensive care unit faces $75,000 medical bill after insurer says no

A New Zealand mum is fighting for her life in a Balinese intensive care unit after developing a serious illness - and her insurance company isn't paying out the $75,000 hospital bill.

Abby Hartley of Hamilton was on holiday with husband Richard in Indonesia when she found herself in severe pain, and was rushed to a hospital in Nusa Dua, Denpasar.

According to a Givealittle page set up by her daughter Sophie, Abby's bowel had twisted, cutting off blood flow to a portion of it, which had died.

Emergency surgery was required, which went well, but she then went into a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome, and struggled to get oxygen.

Doctors made the decision to put her into an induced coma and began supplying her oxygen through a respirator.

Abby also developed a severe chest infection leading to one of her lungs collapsing, and she had temperatures higher than 40C.

"Last night we had a big scare as mums blood pressure was dangerously low, heart rate was too high and saturated oxygen levels were low so she required a blood transfusion early hours this morning," Sophie wrote.

"Mum's infection has progressed into Septicemia and she requires very expensive and rare antibiotics.

"After a very long and stressful battle with the insurance company they have made the final decision to not cover any medical costs therefore we have been left with a very expensive medical bill.

The bill is reportedly about NZ$75,000 - so far - and the family have already received donations of nearly $15,000 through the Givealittle page.

"Mum is a fighter and we can all tell she is trying very hard to fight all problems that are thrown her way," Sophie wrote.

"She is showing signs that she aware we are there for her by very small fluttering of eyelids when we talk to her or stroke her hair."

The Givealittle page did not name the insurance company, nor provide details of the insurance policy which was declined.

From left, Sophie, Abby, Richard and Toby Hartley in the intensive care unit in Bali.
From left, Sophie, Abby, Richard and Toby Hartley in the intensive care unit in Bali. Source: Sophie Hartley/Givealittle


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First trainee pilot lands at Airline Academy at Ōamaru Airport

Being a pilot is not a new dream for 18-year-old Rohit Ramesh.

He has wanted to be a pilot since he was four.

Stepping out of the cockpit of a tiny Tecnam 2008 on Thursday, it appears Mr Ramesh's dream is no longer sky high and instead will become a reality.

He is the first trainee to arrive at the New Zealand Airline Academy at Ōamaru Airport - although he'll have classmates within the next couple of days.

Mr Ramesh will undertake the one-year course before completing at least 200 hours in the air before he can become a commercial airline pilot.

Academy instructor Celroy Mascarenhas said Mr Ramesh had an innate ability.

"He's a quick learner, he did the take-off himself on our very first flight," Mr Mascarenhas said.

"I just get the right vibe from him, he's a natural."

The academy was first announced last month, rekindling hope for the return of commercial airline services to the Waitaki District in the future.

Mr Ramesh said he chose Ōamaru because of the reputation of New Zealand pilot licenses around the world.

The scenery was also a drawcard - "The mountains, the coast from the air, it's a beautiful landscape."

If the weather pans out, he could be a commercial airline pilot before he turns 20.

His dad Ramesh Kumar said the New Zealand climate would take a bit to get used to after escaping 42°C days in Qatar.

"Here it is single digits. We've swapped air conditioners for heaters," Mr Kumar said.

His family travelled over to Ōamaru to spend time with him before his study starts.

"Seeing him flying makes me really proud."

The school is expected to host up to 50 pilot trainees within a couple of years, most of them from overseas.

Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher said it was a momentous day.

"When the directors first came to us, we made a very strong case to them about why they should choose Ōamaru as the base for their new venture," Mr Kircher said.

"It is a tribute to Council staff and our CEO that we now have the first trainee of many who has travelled here to live and learn in Waitaki.

When the school was announced, North Otago Aero Club president Paul Mortimer said trainee pilots would have the benefit of starting outside controlled airspace, with good weather conditions, a quality airport facility and varied terrain.

The academy would encourage more people to the region as New Zealand has high quality training standards and a great pilot reputation, and could prove a boon for businesses, Mr Mortimer said.

- By Tess Brunton

Ramesh Kumar and his son, Rohit Ramesh.
Ramesh Kumar and his son, Rohit Ramesh. Source: rnz.co.nz

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Fonterra hopes to come out of trading halt by end of day

Dairy giant Fonterra hopes it can come out of a trading halt by the end of the day.

The company went into the halt on Thursday saying it needed to take another look at its earnings guidance.

Before the move, Fonterra shares were trading at $5.11 - down nearly 19 per cent this year.

Fonterra has cut its forecast for full-year earnings per share. Source: 1 NEWS