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  1. #1
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Exclamation Desperately Seeking Help for my Brother

    Hi

    I have just returned from Makati where my brother has been taken seriously ill whilst on business. Although he is British, he is resident in another part of the Far East and is self employed. He is currently in a private hospital and it appears that he doesn't have travel insurance so his own funds are being used to pay for his treatment whilst they last. I am desperate to help him and his family to return to the UK but cannot afford an air ambulance (I have been quoted 91k) and he is currently too ill to fly anyway.

    He is not married to his partner of 7 years and they have a little boy. His partner is Filippino and has been to the UK 3 times previously on a visitors visa. It is not known whether my brother will recover and if he does, he will need long term care from his devoted partner.

    I have reported the situation to the Consular office. Any advice about immigration in these circumstances and anything else would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you, I am so worried.
    Rosie xx



  2. #2
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    Very sorry to hear about this. It's a difficult situation for all
    concerned.

    You don't say how much help the British Embassy offered, but I suspect
    they can only offer advice and contacts etc. As far as I know they do not
    normally offer financial support.

    From what you say the first priority appears to be medical, especially in
    terms of getting your brother into a stable condition.
    Until this happens your options are very limited and not without risk.

    As far as I know the Air Ambulance Network offer what they call a
    Commercial Medical Escort Service. They provide this specialist service
    from bed-to-bed on commercially available flights, but only if the patient
    is able to be seated and is medically stable. This would work out at reasonable cost
    compared to dedicated Air Ambulance.

    There is an organisation called - Foreign Assistance Center Philippines.
    I do not know just how helpful they would be (I have never contacted them) but they
    may well be able to help in keeping medical costs down where possible.
    Again, I focus on this as it appears to be the priority.

    I'm sure you already know just how expensive medical care can be in the Philippines.
    You need to be aware that this care will likely cease when the funds are gone.
    The reason I mention this is that you need to set up a secure route for any transfer of
    funds from UK to Philippines.

    Sorry not be of more specific help at this time, I will do some searching
    and talk with some of my contacts in the Phils.
    If I can help further I will respond to you.

    Concerning the immigration status of the family to UK only the British Embassy can
    advise you. Do not expect that any actions outside of current regulations would be
    considered. From my own personal experience this does not happen.


  3. #3
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    Hi Rosie,

    I'm sorry to hear of your situation, it sounds very complex. What would you like to do with your brother and what sort of immigration information would you like.
    If the child has been officially registered on the Philippines Birth Certificate as the son of your brother, then it should be very easy to arrange him for a visa. As for the mother, I think that would be something a little more complicated, and may need specialist immigration advice as it may be something under the Human Rights act.
    Your brother will need to keep up his visa extensions in the Philippines, if someone is able to do that for him, that'll keep away some of the hassle.
    There is a foreign assistance centre, which whilst not directly setup to help people in your situation, I would still contact to see if they can help. http://www.foreign-assistance-center.com/

    Do you know what they are diagnosing your brother with, and whether it's worth checking his files with a UK NHS doctor to see what they think, and offer some input.

    Does you brothers work not have a duty of care to provide travel insurance to him, I believe they may be liable for certain costs such as repatriation and this should be worth looking into.. As for the other repatriation options, some airlines are setup to receive stretchers and doctor, by strapping the stretcher on top of some seats. I have seen this before, and is much cheaper then a dedicated air ambulance.
    I will be in Makati on the 28th September, if you'd like any help or for your brother to see a white face, then I don't mind dropping by.


  4. #4
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Thank you Terpe and Ricky for the information.

    My brother is a self employed consultant. He has been diagnosed with a brain disease which it appears has been caused by a virus that was contracted in yet another country. I have contacted my local hospital which fortunately has a world renouned reputation and they have advised that they will only treat him on the NHS if he moves back to the UK permanently. Now that a firm diagnosis has been made, I think that a visit to my local GP is sound advice so I will make an appointment this week.

    The advice that I am looking for is how to get the family over here as well as transporting my brother back too. He is named on my nephew's birth certificate and I believe that my brother also holds Filippino citizenship too as he still has a house there since first moving in 1993. Would his partner and son need a family permit, a visitors visa, an unmarried partner visa or some other kind of visa?

    The foreign assistance suggestion also sounds a good one and I will pass on those details. As for the British Embassy, the consular department in manila are aware and notified London of my brother's situation. They can only offer assistance, guidance and contacts but they have been helpful and are trying to be supportive.

    RickyR .............. your offer to visit my brother is so sweet and very much appreciated. Unfortunately, he can't speak or communicate at the moment but hopefully with treatment his condition may improve. It's such a scary situation.

    Rosie x


  5. #5
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    Rosie,
    I just had a thought (although maybe you already considered).
    Your brother must have some kind of medical insurance in his country of residence.
    Although you did not mention the place he is normally living, I do know from experience, that many of the medical insurances that you pay into for yourself and family etc have recipricol arrangements (to some extent) with other countries.
    When I lived in Japan my medical insurance did cover many aspects when I visited Philippines.
    Anyway, it's surely worth investigating at this stage.


  6. #6
    Moderator joebloggs's Avatar
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    also does he have travel/medical insurance with his bank, i get travel/medical insurance included with the type of bank account i have.
    http://www.filipinouk.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=870&dateline=1270312908


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickyR View Post




    Do you know what they are diagnosing your brother with, and whether it's worth checking his files with a UK NHS doctor to see what they think, and offer some input.
    Like everyone else I'm shocked to read your post . Ricky's point is valid - you have every right to know what their diagnosis is, and the evidence for their treatment. You should insist on a second opinion from a UK expert, all documentation can be sent securely on the internet. X Rays can be transmitted over the internet. You may also not realise that if any biopsies (tissue samples) have been taken, or there has been surgically removed tissue, the microscope slides can be posted, or securely transferred more rapidly, for a second opinion. It may be that the diagnosis depends on examination of those slides. This is not to alarm you into thinking the diagnosis and treatment is wrong, but hopefully to reassure you that they have got it right.


  8. #8
    Moderator fred's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your brothers dilemma..Its a tough one.
    No harm asking his partner if they have paid into the Philheath scheme (about 20 pounds a year) which would probably pay around 50% of the hospital bill..
    What hospital is he in?


  9. #9
    Moderator Arthur Little's Avatar
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    Rosie ... our thoughts and prayers are with you and your brother's family at this extremely difficult time; if only it were possible to you here in happier circumstances. However, rest assured, we shall be on hand to support and sustain you with comforting words throughout.

    God Bless.


  10. #10
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Doc Alan, Arthur and Fred ........ thank you for your advice and support. Unfortunately, the messages that I am trying to post in reply are very slow appearing as I am a new member and they are being moderated. (I did a post in reply to Ricky and Terpe yesterday but still not showing)

    Fred - My brother stopped paying into Philhealth when he left the Philippines for Malaysia 2.5 years ago.

    Doc Alan - thank you for the much appreciated advice, I went straight to see my GP who has given me some contact details of a UK based neurologist who may be able to help with a second opinion. However, in the meantime, the diagnosis has now been changed to Acute Disseminating Encephalomyelitis and I have to say that this appears more relevant/ understandable than that previously suggested by the hospital who haven't seen it before. We had to take the biopsy slide to another hospital in the Philippines last week which has also provided a second pathological opinion

    Arthur - thank you so much, I hope that you had a very happy birthday yesterday.

    Best wishes
    Rosie


  11. #11
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    Hi Rosie, ok. For your nephew, it's likely he will be eligible for a British Passport (as long as your brother was born in the UK). The procedure for this should be fairly simple, with a copy of the Philippine birth certificate and copies of you brothers birth certificate, and completing some paperwork at the British Embassy, this information is all on the Embassy website.
    The wife of your brother will be able to apply for another visa, applications are made through a company called VFS on behalf of the Embassy http://www.vfs-uk-ph.com/ . The application will probably need a few explaining letters, and supporting letters from those who will support her whilst they are initially living in the UK.
    The difficult part is which visa, she could apply for a long term visit visa, alternatively she may be able to apply for a fiance visa (this is a full immigration visa, but would require marriage at some point in the future). But I think the probable visa would be a family visa. The problem is I don't know for certain, and because of the exceptional cirumstances of the case, it would be well worth contacting the Embassy for advice on this situation.
    The alternative advice (please get proper advice from an immigration lawyer first), but if she applies for a visit visa coming to the UK, she may then be able to apply retrosprectively through the courts system to stay under Human Rights acts. I've heard of a similar case, and it's worth checking into, should the Embassy not be helpful.


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie1958 View Post

    ...the diagnosis has now been changed to Acute Disseminating Encephalomyelitis and I have to say that this appears more relevant/ understandable than that previously suggested by the hospital who haven't seen it before. We had to take the biopsy slide to another hospital in the Philippines last week which has also provided a second pathological opinion
    Most people will not have heard of ADEM, but as you say it usually follows a viral infection. The outlook varies and only the doctors and nurses treating your brother, or your GP / neurologist in UK, can advise you on that. There are a handful of neuropathologists in the UK, who would probably give a second opinion for no fee, if your neurologist here has any doubts about the diagnosis.


  13. #13
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Thank you again Ricky and Doc Alan. I will follow up all of these tips and I am very grateful for your help!

    God bless you all x


  14. #14
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    Hi Rosie
    I really hope that your contact to this forum has introduced some helpful early ideas and leads to follow up.
    Please do keep us informed how you progress, We will of course continue to explore
    all possibilities in resolving challenges.
    Our prayers are with you and the family for a positive outcome.

    You mentioned you still need advice on how to get the family to UK?
    I would highly recommend you follow up on the suggestion of RickyR and make contact to an immigration specialist ( in addition to squeezing as much help as you can from the British Embassy in Manila)

    This forum does have 'sticky' concerning an Immigration Solicitor.
    Here are the contact details given:-

    Mr Colin Harris of Harris and Co.
    Soveriegn House,
    1 Albert Place
    Ballards Lane
    (Near Finchley Central Station London)
    LONDON N3
    0208 349 8110
    It seems Colin Harris can also be contacted on 07904 143686

    For all sorts of technical reasons the situation of your brother, and importantly the immigration status of his family, are complex.
    In my opinion it is essential to talk directly with a specialist who can give you an overview on a strategy for best outcome.

    May I also suggest contact to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office here in UK
    They are also able to offer specialist advice British nationals abroad seeking
    help and assistance in emergencies.
    It might seem yet another duplicated contact, but I'm sure it's a good source.


  15. #15
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Thank you Terpe for the additional advice which is much appreciated. A distant relative of mine told me yesterday that they actually have a contact in the foreign office (who coincidently is filippina) and is trying to find out whether they'd be able to help in any way.

    I am now dealing with 5 different countries in this nightmare and I am currently trying to find out whether a Duty of Care exists between the dutch company my brother was working for in India and himself but this is proving very difficult and I can't afford to pay for advice from an international employment law specialist.

    I am also now having to consider liquidating assets held at their home in Malaysia to raise funds to pay for medical fees (mainly a car). Although I am next of kin, I don't hold power of attorney so I am not sure where to even begin since my brother is totally incapacitated ............

    I have to say that I am totally in awe of this forum and the helpfulness of those that use it, what a fabulous crowd you are!! I have always had a great affection for Filippino people and now that I have found you, I will become a regular visitor to this site in between trying to find help for my brother and working full time.

    So, thank you to everyone for your interest and kind helpfulness, which is VERY much appreciated.

    Rosie x


  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie1958 View Post



    I have to say that I am totally in awe of this forum and the helpfulness of those that use it, what a fabulous crowd you are!! I have always had a great affection for Filippino people and now that I have found you, I will become a regular visitor to this site in between trying to find help for my brother and working full time.

    So, thank you to everyone for your interest and kind helpfulness, which is VERY much appreciated.
    Rosie, your kind words must surely be appreciated by every member who has seen this thread.
    Obviously any of us have helped where we can, and others will sympathise even if they can't advise you.
    But what impresses me is how polite, considerate, and appreciative you have been, while obviously under pressure.
    All best wishes to you.


  17. #17
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Awww ... thank you so much Doc Alan, I'm blushing now ..... !

    Rosie


  18. #18
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie1958 View Post
    The advice that I am looking for is how to get the family over here as well as transporting my brother back too. He is named on my nephew's birth certificate and I believe that my brother also holds Filippino citizenship too as he still has a house there since first moving in 1993. Would his partner and son need a family permit, a visitors visa, an unmarried partner visa or some other kind of visa?
    I have been advised by VFS Helpline UK VAC today that in view of the urgent circumstances, an application should be made for a Child and Unmarried Partner Settlement Visa. Hopefully this can be done next week once the supporting documents have been obtained from their home in Malaysia and taken back to the Philippines.


  19. #19
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    Good news, if you need any assistance with the forms and information, please feel free to post and we'll do our best to help you through it.


  20. #20
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickyR View Post
    Good news, if you need any assistance with the forms and information, please feel free to post and we'll do our best to help you through it.
    Thank you Ricky ....... my brother's partner is looking at the visa settlement application forms today and flies back to Malaysia on Monday for the documents.

    Applications now have to be completed online and since I will not be the one completing it, I can't view it beforehand (this is where being able to download forms comes in handy). I need to establish whether using my own address in the UK for them will be sufficient , or whether they must have their own property, in which case I would have to rent a property now. Renting would, however, be a bit of a gamble at the moment as until my brother comes back to the UK and more is known about his condition, I will not know whether they will need a suitably modified property for wheel chair access etc.

    It looks like I need the help of an immigration specialist but funds are very tight at the moment. Does anyone know where free advice can be obtained in the UK?


  21. #21
    Administrator KeithD's Avatar
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    Your own address will be fine
    Keith Driscoll - Administrator
    Managing Director, Win2Win Limited


  22. #22
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Well, that's a huge weight off my mind!! Thank you


  23. #23
    Administrator KeithD's Avatar
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    ...and sorry for the delay in answering... 3 minutes is waaaaay too long
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  24. #24
    Moderator joebloggs's Avatar
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    as long as your home doesn't become over crowded
    do you own your home, is it rented ??

    http://www.iasuk.org/home.aspx might be able to help you.
    maybe your local law centre. http://www.lawcentres.org.uk/directory/location/
    http://www.filipinouk.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=870&dateline=1270312908


  25. #25
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    I do own my home and there is a spare double bedroom with private ensuite bathroom so hopefully that will be acceptable. Thanks for providing the website details, much appreciated.


  26. #26
    Respected Member somebody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie1958 View Post
    I do own my home and there is a spare double bedroom with private ensuite bathroom so hopefully that will be acceptable. Thanks for providing the website details, much appreciated.
    I think that should be fully adequate from memory I think the spare room must not be a kitchen or bathroom.

    So if as well as a bedroom you have a living/dining room as well that could technically count as another room for a child. The rules may have changed but I think that what i saw quoted from the guide for ECO when we were applying.

    Like everyone else if there is anyway we can help. Remember we have a wide range of Tagalog/English speakers who would happily help with any translation and of course advice/copmfort for your Brothers Partner

    Also if you dont think it will affect the welfare of your Brother care it maybe worth mentioning the private hospital he is staying at. You never know someone may well have a contact there which may help in some way

    My Wife was a nursing student in Manila before moving to the UK and has friends some of whom worked or still do work at Hospitals in Manila

    Best wishes to you all and as others have said what a wonderful Sister you are to your Brother
    Oh lord why did you make so many clothes and shoe shops


  27. #27
    Respected Member beppe's Avatar
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    Did you try to contact your Member of Parliament and through him the Department of Foreign Affairs and see if it is possible to bring your brother home on humanitarian grounds. I would suggest to get a letter from your doctor stating that your brother would be better taken care at home.

    Al countries have emergency funds for repatriation of their nationals abroad in need. Embassy staff have limited power and not always go the extra mile.

    Rules are rules, but they can be bent if need arises.


  28. #28
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the advice Somebody and Beppe.

    I do have a separate ground floor dining room in the house and was considering turning that temporarily into a bedroom for my brother if he needs it when he is discharged since there is also a downstairs cloakroom. That way it will give me a bit of breathing space to find the family a suitably adapted home should the need arise.

    My brother’s partner is Filipina and she is very fluent in the English language, both written and verbally so that is a big help. She also has excellent secretarial skills which will help the family when it is time to seek employment.

    I have also considered involving my local Member of Parliament who actually lives in the same village as me and is just around the corner but I thought that I would try the quicker route first and write direct to the Embassy and the Dutch company my brother was working for to request assistance. I wasn’t aware that there is an emergency fund, however, I will pursue this avenue if all else fails. I have to say that the consular office in both Malaysia and Philippines have been trying to help and have been very supportive but everything now rests on the department dealing with visas and acceptance of my brother at the UK hospital.

    I have done as much as I can for now, completed all the forms, sent begging letters and messages and I am waiting for others to now act and do their bit. The hospital consultants from each country need to speak with each other and one is abroad until a week on Monday but hopefully after that, there will be some rapid action.
    This has been a huge learning curve for me and although it has been a very distressing experience, I know that some good will come out of it. I have come across some truly helpful and lovely people on my quest, which includes those in this forum and I am very grateful for all your help and support.


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie1958 View Post
    Hi

    I have just returned from Makati where my brother has been taken seriously ill whilst on business. Although he is British, he is resident in another part of the Far East and is self employed. He is currently in a private hospital and it appears that he doesn't have travel insurance so his own funds are being used to pay for his treatment whilst they last. I am desperate to help him and his family to return to the UK but cannot afford an air ambulance (I have been quoted 91k) and he is currently too ill to fly anyway.

    He is not married to his partner of 7 years and they have a little boy. His partner is Filippino and has been to the UK 3 times previously on a visitors visa. It is not known whether my brother will recover and if he does, he will need long term care from his devoted partner.

    I have reported the situation to the Consular office. Any advice about immigration in these circumstances and anything else would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you, I am so worried.
    Rosie xx
    hi rosie1958 hope your brother is getting better. my daughter was seriously ill ther in rp and she was in icu, but she is ok now after she had op in best hospital in rp, i think that the best hospitals in rp are as good or better than uk, but problem ther is you have to pay every day for ongoing treatment. ive spent well over 1,000,000 peso on treatment for my kids. has your brother got many friends in rp, cuz the local expat community ther mite be able to help him with money, as some help each other in situations like this. i dont think the brit embassy will help with money or visas with compassionet grounds in your brothers situation..


  30. #30
    Trusted Member Rosie1958's Avatar
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    Hi Junior02

    I'm glad to hear that you daughter has recovered, that must have been a very worrying time for you. Thanks for asking about my brother, he hasn't shown any signs of recovery so far. After nearly 5 weeks, he is still unable to speak, eat, sit up, stand, is incontinent and is often completely vacant. On a good day, he will manage a smile if he recognises anyone. Sadly, his 6 year old son went to visit this weekend and he didn't recognise him at all.

    My brother lives in Malaysia and he is not part of the Philippines ex-pat community, he has a few business contacts there but that's it. The embassy will not assist with any financial help and all that I can do is try to support/ obtain settlement visas for his partner and son hoping that they will view it with compassion. I have to remain optimistic .......... it's my brothers only hope as without his partner, there will not be anyone to care for him.


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