Friday, February 1, 2013

British tourist loses part of skull in 22ft balcony fall in Thailand

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A British tourist who survived a 22-foot fall onto his head from a hotel balcony in Thailand has flown home with a quarter of his skull in his hand luggage.

Lee Charie, 32, smashed the left side of his skull when he fell from the balcony on the island of Koh Tao in December last year.

Hotel staff found Lee unconscious on the ground and was taken to a local clinic then a larger hospital on nearby island Koh Samui.

Medics resuscitated the swimming pool maintenance worker after two days without any signs of life.

But they were forced to remove a quarter of Lee's smashed skull to give his brain space to recover.

Lee was transferred back to Britain two weeks later after doctors handed him the missing chunk of his head in a box.

It was then guarded by a Thai doctor who flew with Lee to care for him during the flight.

Amazingly, Lee, has now learned to walk again and is starting to speak again despite the graphic injury to his head.

Experts now plan to use the removed chunk of his skull as a mold to design a titanium plate which will cover the gap in his skull.

Speaking from his bed at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, Lee, who still cannot remember the fall, said he "can't understand" how the accident happened.

He said yesterday: "I can't remember falling - I don't even know if I fell.

"I remember the skull being removed two weeks ago when my dad turned up.

"My dad came over to Thailand and after two days I remember my head sinking into this dip which was where my skull was missing and I could not believe it.

"It got me in tears thinking about what had happened. They had removed it weeks before. The skull was one of the first things to be taken out because it was all crushed up and just needed to be.

"I was on so many different drugs then I did not realise they had removed it. I was confused and thought I was just on holiday having a good time.

"I only realised a few weeks later when I met my dad that I had this dip. It was a big shock.

"They put my skull in a box which I brought back from Thailand. They have put bits of it back together and I think they are going to make the same size in a different material.

"In a couple of months, when my head has healed a bit more, they are going to try to lift the skin over it and put it in.

"I do not really want to think about it to be honest. Since I have been in hospital I have had about eight injections in each arm that I can remember and I can't stand for it.

Lee, from Stansted Abbotts, Herts., had planned to spend 30 days in Thailand as part of a return trip to the country.

But while staying in the Tommy Resort, in Koh Tao, Lee fell seven metres from a second floor walkway smashing the side of his skull.

He had to have part of his skull removed while in intensive care for a fortnight and his family were told he could be paralysed down his right-hand side.

But luckily Lee was strong enough to be transferred back to Britain on January 18.

He brought the skull fragment back to the UK in a sterile box in hand luggage which was guarded by his doctor.

The piece of skull will now being used as a mould to help rebuild and reshape Lee's head.

He hopes to have surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital to replace his missing skull bone with titanium in April.

It is still unknown whether Lee slipped off the hotel balcony or was pushed.


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