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Bridgnorth school teacher fighting for life in Chinese hospital after routine procedure

An appeal has been launched to help save a school teacher from Bridgnorth who fell into a coma after a routine pain relief procedure in China.

Emma Francis

It is costing £1,650 a day to care for Emma Francis, who is approaching her fourth month in a coma inside a hospital in Shanghai.

The 50-year-old, who spent her most recent birthday in a vegetative state, underwent a routine procedure to ease back problems and migraines using hydrocortisone injections in February.

But Emma, who taught English in numerous schools throughout Shropshire, stopped breathing after the fifth jab and has been fighting for her life in intensive care since.

Her partner of five years, Adrian Casey, is now facing a spiralling medical bill of more than £70,000, having to hand over £6 to medics just so they would carry out the necessary procedure of shaving her head.

Emma Francis and Adrian Casey

He has also been forced to pay for cups and water to ensure Emma can take her daily medication.

Adrian, who lived with Emma behind the Crown pub in High Town, said: "The main issue I am facing is the huge debt accumulated with her current hospital. They are unwilling to release her to an alternative provider until the bill is settled in full. She was covered by medical insurance, but sadly, the insurance only paid a maximum benefit of £11,000.

"I initially set the GoFundMe target of £10,000, but realise this is a massive underestimate now.

"In addition to the main ICU bill, the rules in China are strange, so other items have to be bought directly by family members, or me in this case, and then delivered to the hospital. These include ventilator tubes and personal care items.

Emma Francis

"In addition, any specialist tests or third party consultancy has to be paid directly in advance. I even have to supply bottled water and cups so she can drink and had to pay £6 for them to shave her head for a medical procedure. It is difficult to comprehend if you have never been to China, but it is far removed from the NHS provision in the UK.

"Depending on the amount raised, the money will initially be used to pay for her weekly expenses and care products at the hospital. If a larger amount is raised, it will be used to pay the hospital debt and the deposit required for her hospital transfer, which is usually about £5,000."

Adrian said visiting Emma in hospital has proven difficult, with medics enforcing strict infection control measures due to Covid which, combined with language and cultural barriers, has resulted in them being apart for weeks at a time.

The pair moved together to Yangzhou in 2019 and then to Shanghai in 2020. They both work as teachers at the same school.

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