Ballymartin man Sait Can Ozdemir’s family are now facing a £45,000 bill to get him home for treatment following a horrific biking accident in Thailand on Wednesday.
Sait Can’s family moved from Turkey to the seaside village of Ballymartin when he was a just few months old and growing up at the foot of the Moune Mountains the young man was soon integrated into the tight knit community.
On a round the world expedition, Sait Can wanted to explore Chang Mai, in the North of Thailand close to where he was staying so the 26-year-old laboratory worker and his two friends rented bicycles but tragedy struck when Sait Can lost control going down a steep hill and crashed into a ditch.
Fortunately his friends discovered him in the ditch just seconds after the fall and very miraculously, an former paramedic who was passing delivered first aid on Sait Can, who had lost consciousness for several minutes, until the ambulance and Paramedics arrived. Sait Can was admitted to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai hospital, where he underwent a CT Scan, an MRI and several x-rays.
Doctors found he had suffered a broken wrist, a punctured lung, fluid in his lungs and at least one broken vertebrae in his back. Surgeons reported that the broken vertebrae had damaged Sait Can’s spinal cord and disastrously there is only a small chance he may be able to walk again. Then when he underwent spinal surgery on Saturday the surgeons further discovered he had broken not one but three vertebrae, almost severing his spinal cord. Thankfully, doctors have been able to stabilise his spine, however it is still unclear if his ability to walk has been saved.
Speaking from Turkey, where she and their parents now live again, Sait Can’s sister, Vicky, said her brother had bought travel insurance through Turkey and it only covers €30,000 medical expenses which will just about cover his Thai hospital bills, but not the specialist medical transport to get him home.
Vicky says: “When we first heard about the accident, all we wanted to do was get him home.” The family are desperate to get him home but the lowest quote they can get for the proper transport to bring him home is £45,000, so they are desperately asking if anyone can help, no matter how small, please help get Sait Can home.
“It’s a strange situation to be in, Sait Can is just the most thoughtful guy you could ever meet, he would go out of the way to help anyone and would literally give you the shirt off his back. So we’re hoping people can help him now.”
Sait Can lives with his younger brother, Kemal, 23, in Ballymartin and both brothers studied at Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle then Sait Can went on to study biology at Queen’s.
Their mother, who is originally from Co Down, has been able to travel to Thailand to be by her son’s bed. while Kemal tries to co-ordinate everything from Ballymartin to get his brother home. The family are very appreciative of the Ballymartin community who have rallied round and are doing all they can to support them at this time.
Kemal finds it hard to accept his brother is lying in hospital so far away, severely injured and might never walk again. It was always the older brother who looked out for Kemal. Sait Can was always the brave and strong brother to look up to and now really hard to comprehend what has happened.