Dubai A Dubai-based Briton went into a drug-induced coma on Sunday, for the fifth time since an alleged hotel accident in the capital in 2008, even as a social media campaign has been launched to seek help for the 33-year-old.
As the “Justice for Natalie” campaign gained momentum on Facebook, Twitter and in an online petition ahead of a court hearing on August 9, the family said all they want is the best possible health care for Natalie so that she can lead a normal life again.
Natalie Jane Creane, a Dubai resident, is currently in the ICU at Rashid Hospital where she woke up from coma on Wednesday and was taken off the ventilator. She still remains in bad condition, though.
Natalie’s ordeal began way back in 2008 when she and her husband Trevor went to Abu Dhabi to spend the weekend at a prominent five-star hotel.
Trevor said: “I went to the hotel shop and Natalie was unpacking in the room. When she went to put some shoes in the cupboard, a wooden panel high in the cupboard fell. She looked up at the noise and it hit her on the forehead.
“A member of the hotel staff found her lying unconscious, and by the time I returned to the room, there was a crowd of people. Natalie was very hurt and sick. The duty manager took her to the hospital in a hotel car.”
A spokesperson for the hotel said: “This matter is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit currently in the UAE court system, therefore, we cannot publicly comment on this case or discuss it with any third parties.”
The “Justice for Natalie” page on Facebook stated she suffers from “post-traumatic intractable refractory epilepsy and traumatic brain injury… she has sustained many injuries and broken bones during these seizures. Natalie has been in coma, on the ventilators, had blood clots in her lung and leg, extreme blood toxicity, paralysis, temporary loss of sight, massive hair loss, severe debilitating headaches, temporary loss of speech, confusion, insomnia, constant infections due to suppressed immunity and over 20 stays in intensive care.”
Urgent help needed
Trevor said: “As matters stand, Natalie needs urgent specialist neurological help. She will likely need full-time care for the rest of her life as well as extensive medical support, but we really just want to see her return to a normal, healthy life. We are seeking restitution to enable us to access the best medical care.”
The compensation will be decided by the court, he said.
“A case was filed in 2010 after we had been in dialogue with the hotel and its insurance company for two years. It is being heard in the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance. The next hearing is on August 9, 2012.”
Trevor said: “An inordinate amount of money has been spent on hospital treatment, care where we could access it and flights for her parents (from the UK). The injury has brought the family to near financial ruin.”
Natalie’s father Derek Smith, who has flown into Dubai from the UK along with his wife Angela, said: “Natalie is a very beautiful girl and has a lot of style. She was a great singer and stage actor when she was young. She played lead roles like Maria in Westside Story and Annie in Annie. It breaks our heart to see her like this now.
“We have full faith in the Sharia law,” he added.
Meanwhile, the “Justice for Natalie” Facebook page had garnered more than 2,700 ‘likes’ as of Wednesday afternoon, with friends, family and others offering their support. “I don’t know Natalie and her amazing family but will do what I can to spread the word and get the message out there. Wishing Natalie all the very best in her recovery,” said one post.
“Get well soon Natalie. The world needs you back as you are unique and your existence in this world cannot be occupied by anyone else, not even $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) dollars when a percentage of that can save your life,” said another.