An Australian woman who suffered a “devastating accident” and was hospitalised after a horror fall on a European holiday has been denied help from her insurance company, as her family launch a desperate plea to get her home.
Ella Cutler, 25, from Western Australia, suffered horror injuries including a fractured skull when she fell 10m from a wall in the popular tourist hotspot of Dubrovnik, Croatia, in late August.
Ms Cutler has been denied help from her insurance company, with her family now trying to foot the $500,000 medical and repatriation bill.
Her brother Josh has launched a GoFundMe to help raise the money needed to bring the “much loved daughter, sister to three brothers, devoted public servant, loving friend to many, and kind soul to everyone she meets” home.
Ella’s medical bills have run up a cost of nearly $100,000 so far and an air ambulance back to Australia is set to cost a whopping $400,000, bringing the total needed to help Ella to $500,000.
The fall has left Ella with “multiple fractures of her skull and spine, several limbs and 12 ribs, puncturing both lungs and leaving her in a critical condition and fighting for life in a foreign hospital, far from everyone she knows and loves,” her brother Josh said.
“We can only imagine how scared she would be if she knew the full extent of her injuries, and we cannot even begin to convey how frightened we are for her, and how important it is for her to come home,” the fundraiser says.
Rebecca Cutler, Ella’s aunt, claimed on Facebook that Ella’s insurance company were denying her claim.
“It’s not a matter of putting her on a normal flight. Given her spinal injuries she needs to be med evacuated on a special plane,” Ms Cutler added.
WA Police have since gotten behind the effort to bring Ella home, with Inspector Geoff DeSanges saying she was a part of their “big blue family”.
“I understand that her family are experiencing some difficulty in returning her home financially, so I know a lot of people in WA police have got behind that effort which is not surprising to me because we’re very tight-knit blue family,” he said.
“I’ve not met Ella personally, but everyone says she’s an outstanding police officer and completely dedicated to serving the community that she works in. And I think it’s really moving that both police and members of the community have got behind this effort to bring her home.”
WA Premier Roger Cook acknowledged the family’s ordeal during Parliament on Wednesday, acknowledging the “great police officer”.
Dubrovnik attracts thousands of Aussie visitors each year and is perhaps best known as a filming location for hit TV series Game of Thrones.
Ella and a 34-year old man she fell with both had alcohol in their system at the time of the fall, according to local police.
The Australian man was treated with a broken leg.
Writing on the GoFundMe page, Josh praised the doctors who have treated Ella in Dubrovnik for their “amazing” care but said they have “conveyed the importance of moving her to a bigger hospital with better facilities”.
“They know the best thing for her is to be home where she can feel the full impact of the love from her family, friends, and community.”
“The world doesn’t have enough Ella’s, and it needs her.”