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Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
Diver facing 40,000 medical bill
Scuba diver
Anthony Allen was holidaying alone
A British scuba diver being treated for decompression sickness abroad is facing a 40,000 bill, because his insurers are refusing to pay for his treatment.

Anthony Allen, from Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, suffered the condition known as the bends while diving in Marsa Alam, Egypt, on Monday.

Egyptian medics say the 68-year-old needs about six hours of treatment each day for at least the next three weeks.

Lloyds TSB say they will not foot the bill as Mr Allen dived too deep.

'Very upsetting'

The insurers said the retired factory manager, who was holidaying alone, went below the 30-metre limit stipulated on his policy.

Mr Allen's sons, 31-year-old Mark and Chris, 26, said they thought that their father, a highly experienced diver, probably did not know about this limit.

They also said doctors had told them their father's illness was caused by dehydration, and not the depth to which he dived.

We are hoping Lloyds TSB have a sense of fairness and compassion
Lorely Burt MP

Mark said: "We are currently trying to get a document from Egypt to give to the insurance company.

"It explains that my father's illness was caused by dehydration. How deep he went is beside the point."

His partner Laura, 31, said: "The trouble with the insurance company is that they said 'no' straight off. It's very upsetting."

Lorely Burt, Liberal Democrat MP for Solihull, said: "He is an experienced diver and I hope they will let fairness, not the small print of the policy, guide their decision.

"We are hoping Lloyds TSB have a sense of fairness and compassion."

Lloyds TSB insurance said in a statement: "The tour company which Mr Allen was diving with has confirmed that he reached a depth of 49.5 metres immediately prior to seeking medical assistance.

"We also have confirmation from doctors treating him that his illness is directly related to him participating in a dive to that depth.

"Therefore we are unable to accept this claim.

"Should any additional medical evidence come to light we would of course reassess that situation."

The Foreign Office said it was aware of the situation.

Safety under the sea
23 Jul 03 |  Southern Counties
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10 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific

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