Holland woman needs help with uncle’s medical expenses after collapse in Greece

Posted at 10:55 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 22:55:26-04

HOLLAND, Mich. -- A woman from Ottawa County is asking for help to get her uncle settled back in at home after he collapsed while on a Greek cruise. The problem is, his family says his Medicare doesn’t cover expenses outside of the United States, so now it’s up to them to pay for everything.

Relatives tell FOX 17 Warren Gentry was on that cruise with his wife, Donna, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary around the Greek Isles while aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas.

"They were docked in Greece when he went into A-Fib and collapsed on the cruise ship," said Elisa Grzybowski, Gentry's niece.

On Sept. 11, Gentry was rushed to the hospital and straight to the ICU with Atrial Fibrillation. According to the American Heart Association,  the condition is a  quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications,

"When he got to the hospital, he found out part of his heart is enlarged and they did not know that and then found that he had a very severe pancreatitis infection," said Grzybowski.

His three children flew to Greece to say their goodbyes after doctors told them he’d only have a 60 percent chance of survival.

"Then all the sudden God had a different plan," said Grzybowski.

Gentry’s infection slowly stared to dwindle, but almost two weeks later he’s still intubated in the ICU. Unfortunately for him, his Medicare doesn’t cover expenses when he’s outside of the country.

"The medical bills they had to pay there upfront will not be reimbursed because Medicare will not cover anything that happens out of the country, so that at this point has already been $30,000," said Grzybowski.

They say it’s going to be another $111,000 to medevac Gentry back to the United States where Medicare would be able to help cover expenses. Grzybowski says the entire family’s tried to pull finances together, but it’s not enough.

"Her bank account is empty, her entire retirement fund is gone, it’s all gone," said Grzybowski. "You do what you do for the one you love, but there’s nothing left.”

She’s asking her community for help, whether it’s donations or with prayers, to bring the pastor of 50 years back home.

"He’s a man that just cares for people, he loves everyone," said Grzybowski. "He has done so much for his community."

Grzybowski says Gentry is alone in Greece currently. His wife and daughter flew back Monday morning and thought he’d be on a flight a few hours behind them, but his flight was delayed until at least Tuesday.

Then they’re hoping to get him to a hospital in Chicago, closer to where his kids live, but obviously, it’s still a long road ahead for them.

You can donate to help with the family's expenses on their Go Fund Me page.