The plight of a British man has highlighted the risks for foreigners living in Thailand without health or medical insurance.
Graham Briar, who uploads videos about life in rural Thailand to his YouTube channel Graham & Pie, urgently needs a triple heart bypass operation but with no medical insurance and not enough money to pay for surgery he finds himself in a nightmare situation in hospital in Chiang Rai.
Graham, who has been broadcasting about his current situation live on YouTube, says that doctors have told him surgery will cost at least half a million baht or as much as one million baht, which needs to be paid upfront.
One week ago, Graham uploaded a video titled ‘Heart of the Matter’ where he revealed he had been experiencing a shortness of breath and chest pains.
In a second video posted six days later, which now appears to have been removed, Graham talking live from his hospital bed explained that after visiting a local doctor he was advised to go to hospital where it was confirmed he had suffered a heart attack.
Another video posted on Tuesday (Jan 30) titled Heart Issue Update, Graham, with wife Pie by his side, explained that his worst fears had been confirmed and that he was in need of a triple heart bypass.
“Two of the arteries have already collapsed and the third is down to about 10 percent”, Graham said in the video.
He also said asked subscribers to his channel for donations via PayPal to help pay for his surgery.
He added that he has already used all his savings, money which was being put towards the construction of a new house on farmland in Chiang Rai.
“If you would like to donate, Pai and I would be more than grateful,” Graham said.
He puts the fact that he does not have health insurance as “just one of those things.”
Graham, a former smoker, blogs about life in Chiang Saen in Chiang Rai where he lives with his wife Pie and son Fam.
Graham’s YouTube channel has over five thousand subscribers, many of whom posted messages of support after hearing about his health troubles.
However, some subscribers questioned his decision not to take out health insurance.