Desperate times for family

Raising money for city man languishing in Panama hospital

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A Winnipeg man who survived last month's mudslide in Panama may die in hospital there unless $25,000 to $60,000 is raised for an Angels of Flight air ambulance to Canada, his family says.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/01/2011 (4224 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Winnipeg man who survived last month’s mudslide in Panama may die in hospital there unless $25,000 to $60,000 is raised for an Angels of Flight air ambulance to Canada, his family says.

Greg Coy, who has a broken pelvis, is becoming weaker and cannot get proper care in the hospital in Colon, Panama, the family says.

He requires from one to three surgeries, which are repeatedly being delayed.

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press Josh Coy holds a photo of his father, Greg Coy, and Coy's wife, Susanna, who died during a landslide in Panama. The family, including Coy's daughter, Kristin Coy (below), is worried about Greg Coy's deteriorating condition in a Panama hospital and is raising funds to fly him out of the country by air ambulance.

For the past 10 days, Coy has had diarrhea and is rapidly losing weight. “He’s literally lying in filth for 10 hours,” said his daughter, Kristin.

The family says the conditions and lack of proper care threaten his life.

“Every time they move him, they rebreak his pelvis,” said Jeff Gunn, a close friend of the family.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Archives Kristin Coy

“The hospital, you can’t imagine. They have dirty needles on the table, blood on the floor, they want you to dress his bed sores, the nurse shows up two-and-a-half hours after you push the call button,” he said.

“He hasn’t had his surgeries yet and we’re terribly worried he’s going to get an infection and die.”

The mudslide swept into the home where Coy was staying, in the coastal community of Portobello, Panama, on the morning of Dec. 9.

Killed in the mudslide were Coy’s wife of almost two years, Susanna Mureil, who is from Panama, as well as his wife’s son, Pablo, Pablo’s wife, Corvacho Ana Lucia Aguilar, and their three-month-old girl.

Coy’s pelvis is broken in several places. His urethra was severed, requiring him to use a catheter.

He has weakened to the point where his family doesn’t believe he is strong enough for surgery.

He has been alone there this month, except for a local friend.

Up to $5,000 in donations allowed two of Coy’s children, Kristin and Josh, to travel to the hospital in Panama over Christmas to tend to their father.

It is a public hospital, which means the family must pay for everything from water to clean sheets. Coy let his health insurance run out and has limited savings.

The family is in almost daily contact with the Canadian Consulate in Panama and federal officials in Canada.

It was the former that suggested the Angels in Flight air ambulance. The family is trying to get a more precise quote.

“We’re in desperate need to get my dad home,” said another daughter, Harmony. “We have no time at all.

“We are trying to get him home and almost fundraise afterward” for the cost of the air ambulance.

The family is planning a social and has set up a trust fund. People wanting to help can contact Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux’s office at (204) 230-9328 or send an email to helpthecoys@gokevin.ca

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

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