Kettle and one of her great-grandchildren. Kettle and one of her great-grandchildren.

UK traveler hit with $72,000 medical bill

Woman required emergency surgery in Cozumel

An English traveler has been hit with a US $72,000 medical bill after falling ill during a cruise vacation in Mexico.


Joyce Kettle, 74, of Blyth, Northumberland, was traveling with friends aboard the Marella Discovery II last week when she began having difficulty breathing.

A doctor on board said she needed urgent medical attention so she was airlifted alone to a hospital in Cozumel, Quintana Roo.

The woman underwent heart surgery, which required three stents.

The mother of three, grandmother of six and great grandmother of four thought she had holiday insurance through her bank but later found that the policy only covered European trips.

Les Chrisp, the partner of Kettle’s youngest daughter, said the family had a hard time getting information from the cruise ship and the hospital and finished up up making contact with an English-speaking bar in Cozumel.

The manager of the bar contacted medical personnel on their behalf and about three hours later the family was told Kettle was awake and stable.

Chrisp and and Kettle’s daughter have flown to Cozumel to take the woman home.

Chrisp said the British embassy advised them not to fly to see Kettle, that instead they should save money to pay the medical bills.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to assist with costs.

Those totaled $72,662 exclusive of doctors’ fees as of January 30.

Source: WirralGlobe (sp), The Telegraph (sp)

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  • mexitarrio

    lol I always travel with loads of insurance and know check the details for going to mexico , and I go to the safe area of Queretaro ,,, ,, $53 for tons of anything needed for 2 weeks ,from Canada

    • Beau

      $53.00 for “tons of anything needed for 2 weeks”? I certainly hope you never need it in Mexico…that premium won’t even cover a doctor visit- American Insurance Premiums for Mexico travel range between $400.00 and $500.00 dlls- per month- Canada Premiums are even higher.

      • mexitarrio

        53$ 5 mil coverage ,dental,hospitals, transportation etc all covered ,through CAA Travel insurance ,was their oct-nov just passed ,you know not of what you speak

        • charles peterson

          Oh,Shut up for god’s sake.

        • mexicoman

          You should take a course in writing and grammar skills before you go back to Mexico, like “was their” should be “was there”

    • charles peterson

      Gawd, another insufferable canadian in Mexico. The last issue I read of two jumping off their balcony while in Cancun. LOL. I always stay out of the direction of manic canadians with loads of insurance. And $53 dollars AMERICAN. Baaad combination They are capable of anything, inhuman of course.

      • mexitarrio

        Beats being whatever you are,likely u.s asshat try looking up some places such as Media Luna , Huasteca Potosina,,pena de bernal , El Giesers nice areas in central mexicoand free of the loons on the beaches at the resorts and Americans in general and that is a huge bonus ya mutt ,good day Eh!

        • charles peterson

          Calmase pendejo.

  • Shine

    sounds a bit spendy for mexico…

    • That’s not Mexico. It’s Cozumel.

      • Curtis Lowe

        Cozumel is part of Mexico.

        • You missed my tongue in cheek. I, and others, do not regard places like Cancún, San Miguel de Allende and, to a lesser degree, Cozumel to be in Mexico.

  • Tom C

    I have a travel policy, GEO-Blue. It is very reasonable and has excellent coverage including travel back home if needed. It is about the cost mention by mexitarrio. I pay for a year and less than $300 as I recall. Look it up.

  • Barry Brown-John

    I don’t know what the details are for the incidents the previous postings are referring to? We have a private extended plan through our Company. When we were in Playa several years back, I had a Kidney Stone attack. Made it to the hospital in a taxi and after taking and verifying our Credit Card information, I was whisked into emergency had a cat scan, met with an Urologist, received pain meds and the stones were blasted (me too).

    I spent the night in the hospital, my Urologist met with me the next morning and released me. I came back to the Hospital a day or two later to meet with him again, we had a great discussion in English, he gave the X-Ray film to take home with me, in case my Doctor wanted to see them. $2,000 USD, of which my extended plan paid 80%. I was completely pleased with the professional and caring attention I received.

    • Get to Work People

      I went to the Dr in Ensenada Mexico , it was $40, meds $20

  • Sharon

    The woman is being taken advantage of for sure. Everyone traveling should make sure their travel insurance covers the country they are going to. Perhaps the system in her country will help cover some of the costs. I know they do in Canada – provided they get “real” receipts.

  • Everyone that travels outside of their country should make sure their health insurance covers them in other countries and also includes evacuation. I have medical insurance with GNP in Mexico and it covers me in other countries up to $500,000 USD and also includes medical evacuation. I wouldn’t travel without it.


    There are several hospitals in Cozumel, Mexico and three of them with state-of-the art facilities and excellent doctors. An average hospital bill in the U.S.for heart bypass surgery runs about $120,000 -$200,000 usd depending on the length of the surgery and that does not include the physicians fees. If you are traveling, especially to another country, you should have travel insurance but you also need to notify the insurance company of where you are traveling to. It’s extremely unfortunate, but a $72,000usd bill for open heart bypass surgery with three stints ,a hospital stay and the surgeon’s fee is not unreasonable and seems very fair. Of course, the headline makes it appear as if she was being taken advantage of but you are talking about a very good hospital facility here with an excellent reputation. If it had happened in the U.S. It would have been double that amount, for sure. It is unfortunate and I hope she heals quickly and is reunited with her family very soon. Get well soon!!

    • jiff363

      I was thinking the same thing. That is not alot to pay for something lime that.

  • Best to check your insurance policy carefully.

  • David Nichols

    So we are supposed to contribute to a GoFundMe account because this adult woman failed to read her insurance policy…?
    Looks like she received excellent emergency heart surgery, at a very reasonable cost and is recovering…
    Now she needs to go home and do whatever she has to do to pay the hospital and the doctors. If she has to sell her house, well so be it, it is not the Mexican hospitals obligation to absorb the costs…Expecting others to foot the bill for her is typical socialist thinking…

  • Get to Work People

    My friend in Cambodia was in the hospital for a number of days in the ICU and his total bill was $1,700