Sad news received today that a Frankley woman who was stuck in a hospital in Cuba after she became seriously ill on holiday has passed away.

The family of Sheila Dumbleton, 57, had been fundraising to get her home after her holiday insurance providers refused to pay out, claiming her policy was invalid.

Our thoughts are with husband Ray, children Erica, Lance and Graham and all of her family and friends at this very difficult time.

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

Dream Holiday

Sheila 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.

Sheila regained consciousness and seemed to be back on the road to recovery but has now sadly passed away.

Insurance worries

An added worry for Sheila’s family is that her 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.”

Since Sheila’s passing, the family need to find the money to pay £20,000+ medical bills and get Ray and Sheila back to the UK.

Support from local MP

After being contacted by the family and B31 Voices, Northfield MP Richard Burden had been looking into Sheila’s case, offering support to the family where he could and liaising with her insurers and the Foreign Office.

On hearing of her passing, Mr Burden said: “Following the sad news that Sheila Dumbleton  has died, I have asked the UK foreign Office Minister to ensure that consular staff give as much advice and assistance to the family as they can.

“I am told that Sheila’s husband Ray wants to get back to the UK as soon as possible to be reunited with his family and I can obviously understand that. I am sure there will still be issues to resolve regarding both the repatriation of Sheila’s body and here is the outstanding question of the medical bills.

“However, none of this should be allowed to overshadow the human side of this tragedy. That is why I hope everyone will work to ensure that Ray can get to get back to his family as soon as possible.”

Sheila has 2 sons, a daughter, 4 grandchildren and had 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.”

Our thoughts are with husband Ray, children Erica, Lance and Graham and all of her family and friends at this very difficult time.

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

Rest in peace, Sheila

Fundraising to get Sheila and Ray home

Go Fund Me Page

Fundraising event:



  1. Such sad news, such a shame the insurance company didn’t have a bit of compassion and help this poor family out especially at a time of grief. Thoughts with the family and friends and truly hope this poor lady gets home so her family can let her rest in peace.

  2. So sad, if the family had done what they claimed to have by pre warning the insurance company of all “Known” past and present health issues then surely there must be a rock solid case to sue in court.


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