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Karen battles for life in Vietnam hospital while parents face €2,000-a-day bills

A YOUNG Dublin woman is fighting for life in a Vietnamese hospital after contracting a deadly virus.

The family of Karen Hamill (27) are now appealing for help as her medical costs

The pretty recruitment consultant, from Tallaght, has been struck with the potentially deadly virus that’s attacking her brain. Karen was on her way back home from a backpacking trip in New Zealand via Vietnam when she contracted encephalitis.

The condition has led to her suffering a stroke.

Her parents, Tommy and Marie, have flown out to their daughter’s bedside as their fears for her life are mounting.

The couple have been told that Karen’s treatment may be suspended if they cannot pay the €2,000-a-day hospital fee that is not covered by her travel insurance.

The family are paying an average of €2,000 a day. The costs range from €1,400 to €3,000 per day, depending on what treatment or tests Karen undergoes.


The young woman has a nurse around the clock and is kept in an isolation room, which is contributing to the high costs.

“Karen was in Nha Trang (South Central Coast of Vietnam) with her boyfriend, Gerard O'Connor, when she started vomiting and later slurring her speech, she went to a clinic there and on November 17, she collapsed,” her aunt Dorothy told the Herald.

“I was speaking to the doctor myself while my sister, Marie (Karen's mother) was getting emergency visas to go over there, and he reckoned Karen needed to be moved to a hospital, as he realised there was something going on with her brain.

“The clinic called for an ambulance that would take her to the FV (Franco-Vietnamese) Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City in eight hours but the doctor kept the ambulance at the door for six hours until he got paid.

“This is why we are asking the public for help – my sister gets presented with a bill every three days that she has to pay there and then.

“We have used up all our personal savings and we don't want anything to happen that would delay or stop treatment, because it could be very dangerous.

Dorothy, who is Karen's godmother explained that the young woman's condition was critical. While the recruitment consultant is no longer in an induced coma, she has not spoken since she collapsed, she is being treated for pneumonia and suffers seizures daily.

On top of this, doctors will not be able to find out how much damage encephalitis has done to her brain until the virus has run its course. Donations can be made through Permanent TSB bank account The Karen Hamill Appeal, sort code 99-06-20, account number 18241106 or through PayPal.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/FundraiserForKaren.