A young tourist has been trapped abroad in hospital after she was 'swept out to sea' by a 'freak' wave. Charline Edwards was left in "excruciating" pain after she was hit by the wave as she relaxed in the water on the Cape Verde Coast.
She is currently recovering from a nerve injury to her spine. Initially, she could not feel her arms or hands. Her boyfriend, Callum Aston, said it took three hours for her to reach a hospital and the full extent of her injuries would not be known until she was examined in the UK.
A GoFundMe page has since been launched to cover the £40,000 bill that will need to be paid to fly the 24-year-old home. The couple, from Sutton Coldfield, took the holiday from a colleague at short notice but forgot to arrange travel insurance.
Speaking from the Cape Verde hospital where Charline was being treated, Callum told BirminghamLive of Charline's injuries: "The water was a little choppy but nothing too serious. The flags were green, telling us it was safe to swim.
"We were less than waist-deep in the water, Charline was lying on her back floating in the water relaxing. Suddenly a very big wave landed on top of her. When I eventually stood up myself from the wave, she was nowhere to be seen. She was about 20 yards down into the water, where it had dragged her back out to sea, when I managed to find her."
With no lifeguards to help, Callum said he had to "swim against the current" to drag his injured girlfriend back to the shore.
He said: "Eventually when I got her to the beach, an elderly couple who had spotted us in the distance tried to help me carry her. Eventually, after about five minutes, the lifeguards came over but at that time, she couldn't move anything from her neck down. But the lifeguards were trying to drag her by her arms and legs up the beach. I said: 'You can't do that, she's hurt her back, it's going to cause more damage.'
"I was begging for help, asking them to call an ambulance. It took them more than 30 minutes for them to call an ambulance and over two hours for paramedics to arrive on the beach.
"After the two hours the hotel manager went and got a wheelchair for disabled guests and we had to carry the wheelchair off the beach. So from the minute of the accident, it took over three hours while she was lying in excruciating pain, shouting and calling for help.
"She had to be wheeled all the way to the other side of the hotel to a main road to get into the ambulance. The care in the hospital, which is the only English-speaking hospital on the island, has been abysmal.
"I had to lift her in and out of a CT scanner because there was no staff available to help."
Callum claimed doctors "intentionally kicked" her bedside and squeezed her arm to check if she was in pain.
He said: "She's been left in her own urine for two days because doctors won't change the sheets. The entire time I've been there fully feeding her, trying to wash her, clothe her, change her, making sure she constantly has painkillers, she's been given no support by the doctors at all.
"We've had a really bad experience in the hospital. We're worried that, if we can't get her home, her injury could become long-term because there's no MRI scanner on the island so we can't see how extensive the nerve damage is."
The accident happened last Thursday, three days before they were due to fly home. The severity of Charline's injuries remain unknown until she receives an MRI scan in the UK
Her hospital bills have already hit £10,000 with the couple paying more for every day they were stuck on the island. Callum said Charline has been told she cannot fly home on a commercial plane as she "cannot sit up or stand on her own". The only options are a flight with a stretcher or an air ambulance.
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