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Battle Creek woman's stepdad stuck in Mexico after suffering stroke, lacking insurance

Woman says ‘this is a crisis’ with stepdad still in hospital in Mexico and mom paying $50,000 for his medical expenses
Posted at 8:25 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 20:25:58-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Kim Danke talks to her mom Patti over the phone at least four times a day, she said.

When they spoke around noon on Tuesday, Danke immediately asked if she’d heard from the hospital yet.

“Yes, I talked to the other hospital to get him into,” Patti said while speaking to Kim on Facebook Messenger. “[They’re] saying the way he is right now he needs a nursing home.”

Danke said her mom and stepfather Denny have been in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a few months. It’s where they spend their winters. However, on May 14, the day before they were to return to Michigan, Denny suffered a stroke.

“We thought he fell. He busted his head. He was unconscious,” Danke said. “But the next day they did all the tests and he was still unconscious. But he never lost oxygen to his brain, which has been great.”

However, test results revealed that he had blood clots, she said. Doctors found one on his brain which paralyzed the left side of his body.

“You would normally think ‘well why can’t you just fly him home?’ You can’t,” Danke said. “He has blood clots. He needs a medical flight. He needs a medical team to get him home safely and get the help that he needs.”

Now, he can’t walk and needs ‘aggressive physical therapy, Danke said.

She’s since been trying to get them back to Michigan. Danke’s called embassies in both the United States and Mexico trying to reach a government official. However, the stay-at-homes, due to the pandemic, have been slowing down the process, she said.

But Danke’s not giving up.

“We have connections with the Chamber of Commerce in Grand Rapids and they actually reached out to the American Consul in Guadalajara. We’re still waiting back,” Danke said. “ I actually went on Instagram yesterday and tried to get a hold of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.”

Danke hopes to get them home soon because it’s been costly keeping him in the hospital. Patti’s been paying $3,000 a day out of pocket just for Denny's critical care and he doesn't have insurance.

“She’s using the retirement to pay for his care every single day,” Danke said. “She can’t come back to the States right now. She has to be there to be his advocate, to fight for him because no one else will.”

Danke created a GoFundMe account to help them with expenses. She said all the money raised will go directly to her parents and the effort to get them home.

In the meantime, Danke has message for everyone traveling abroad: "get travel insurance."

She said it would’ve made a difference for her parents.

“Make sure you get travel insurance. Make sure your medical insurance policy covers you when you go to a different country,” Danke said. “My mom wants to make sure that that [message] got out as well, not just to make sure Denny got home but to warn others. This is a crisis.”