POST UPDATED Monday 11th July: Sad news received that Sheila has passed away in hospital in Cuba. Our thoughts are with husband Ray, children Erica, Lance and Graham and all of her family and friends.

Donations towards paying off Sheila’s medical bill and bringing her home can still be made on the Go Fund Me page.

The family of a Frankley woman who is stuck in a hospital in Cuba are desperately trying to raise the funds needed to get her home after her holiday insurance providers refused to pay out, claiming her policy was invalid.

Dream Holiday

Sheila Dumbleton, 57, from Frankley went to Cuba with her husband of over 30 years, retired builder, Ray, 69 on the 6th June. Sheila and Ray planned to celebrate her birthday with a dream holiday in the sun.

Rushed to hospital

Hospital Universitario Lenin in Holguín, Cuba
Hospital Universitario Lenin in Holguín, Cuba

However, on the 6th day of their 2 week holiday, Sheila fell ill and was rushed to the Hospital Universitario Lenin in Holguín, Cuba, having difficulty breathing. She was diagnosed with internal bleeding and had to have emergency surgery to stop the bleed.

After an apparently successful operation, Sheila began her recovery.

Unfortunately, Sheila suffered complications during her recovery, developing pneumonia and suffering a stroke. Anxious family members at home in the UK feared the worst.

Thankfully, two weeks later, Sheila has now regained consciousness and is back on the road to recovery.

Insurance worries

It’s a difficult enough time for Sheila and Ray’s family and friends with her in hospital so far away and communication with the hospital being hampered by language barriers.

However, an added worry for them all is that Sheila’s medical insurance company, White Horse Insurance, have said that they will not be paying out for her medical care.

Sheila’s daughter Erica said that Sheila paid for top level insurance for her holiday and informed them of her Type 2 Diabetes, paying a higher premium. However, Erica says the company claim that Sheila failed to disclose other underlying conditions – conditions which Erica says Sheila was not aware of.

A spokesman for White Horse Insurance Ireland DAC said:”We were very sorry to hear of Mrs Dumbleton’s circumstances. Regrettably, as Mrs Dumbleton’s medical history was not disclosed, her claim was not covered by her insurance policy.”

The spokesman added: “We would like to stress to all holidaymakers how important it is to fully declare any pre-existing medical conditions or on-going medical investigations when buying travel insurance.”

With a bill already over £20,000, increasing at a rate of around £900 a day, Sheila will need to remain in hospital in Cuba until she is stable enough to return home.

Support from local MP

After being contacted by the family and B31 Voices, Northfield MP Richard Burden is looking into Sheila’s case and offering support to the family where he can.

Mr Burden said: “My team and I were first made aware of Sheila’s situation on Monday. Since then we have been in contact with Sheila’s daughter, Erica, and are liaising with the family, the insurers, and the Cuba Desk at the Foreign Office. At this time it would be inappropriate to comment further but we are doing our best to support the family in what is a very difficult time.”

The family are desperately trying to raise the funds needed to get Sheila and Ray home with a Go Fund Me page and have organised a family fun day, car wash and BBQ fundraiser on 17th July.

New family member to meet!

Sheila has 2 sons, a daughter, 4 grandchildren and has just become a great grandmother. Erica said: “Since being in Cuba she has become a first time Great Grandmother to a beautiful baby girl Evie, who was born 6 weeks premature and on my mums birthday.”

All the more reason to get Sheila home!

Go Fund Me Page

Fundraising event:



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