Manitoba grandfather who was hospitalized in Bolivia dies
Neil Nickel was flown home by air ambulance at cost of over $86K
A Manitoba grandfather who fell ill in Bolivia, and was flown home by air ambulance in time for the holidays, has died.
Tracy Man said her father, Neil Nickel, passed away on Thursday.
"Early this morning our dad lost his fight with the horrible infection that had taken over his body. He passed very peacefully and is no longer in pain," she posted on Facebook that afternoon.
Nickel had travelled to the South American country in early November to visit family, but he was soon hospitalized with flu-like symptoms. He did not have travel health insurance.
His family has said it turned out Nickel had a ruptured intestine caused by scar tissue from gall bladder surgery 33 years earlier. He had an infection and needed surgery.
Man and other family members travelled to Bolivia to make arrangements to bring Nickel back to Manitoba.
They found a private air ambulance company to transport him to Manitoba, but the trip came with an $86,800 price tag. He was flown to Winnipeg in mid-December and taken to Health Sciences Centre.
Last month, Man estimated that hospital and medication bills would total up to $25,000 by the time her father came home.
A GoFundMe campaign launched by the family has raised over $22,000 of their $86,800 goal. Man is also organizing a fundraising social scheduled for Feb. 13 in Winnipeg.