Family and friends of Natalie Creane demand justice after Abu Dhabi disaster
IT SHOULD have been a romantic weekend in a top five-star hotel to celebrate the beginning of Natalie Creane's new life.
But a freak accident just minutes into the beginning of her stay at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi has left her battling comas, blood clots in her lung, paralysis, temporary loss of sight and massive hair loss.
The 33-year-old, who lived with her mother and father, Derek and Angela Smith in South Weald, before moving to Dubai ten years ago, has just come out of a drug-induced coma.
That was her fifth coma since a loose panel high up in a wardrobe fell, hitting her on the head while she was unpacking for the weekend to celebrate her engagement to husband Trevor in 2008.
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Natalie, a former student of Hedley Walt er School, and St Peter's Primary School, South Weald, suffers from post traumatic intractable refractory epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.
Her seizures cause her to collapse suddenly and she has frequently sustained serious injuries during these seizures, including broken bones.
Now friends and parents, who still live in Essex, want the world to know about her plight and have set up an online petition and Facebook page – Justice for Natalie – ahead of a key court hearing on August 9, the date when they are due to hear whether the hotel admits liability for the accident that friends and family say have so devastated them.
The family has already been through the process twice before, but on both occasions the hotel has appealed.
There is no doubting that Natalie is an ill woman. Her family and supporters say the appalling seizures and a range of related conditions that require heavy medication to keep them under control are taking their toll.
Childhood friend Fred Foster, 36, said: "We just want them to admit that they are at fault so Natalie can get the treatment she needs.
"It's not just the coma that is a problem for her but the broken bones from the effects of banging against things when she is having a seizure and the effects the medication in having on her liver."
In the years she has had 42 stays in hospital, 20 of them in intensive care.
She in desperate need of specialist treatment that her family cannot afford any more – four years after the accident, they have spent all they have. The case has brought them to near financial ruin.
Posting on the Justice for Natalie Facebook page, Natalie's father Derek, who is with his daughter in Dubai, said on Tuesday: "Yesterday Nat was still very, very weak and finding it difficult to walk and adjust to the new medications and was still very weak from intensive care.
"She was taken into hospital in the afternoon with a blood clot from being laid up for so long and is returning to hospital this afternoon.
"Natalie's veins are impossible to take blood from now and they have to take blood from her feet which is excruciating.
"The last time Natalie had blood clots from being incapacitated after the accident she had to be injected in her stomach everyday for four months with clexane and have (blood tests) done every week – how they will do this now with no viable veins, we do not know.
"Anticoagulants and anticonvulsants do not work together well and in the past have made Nat very unstable and have made her as ill as she has ever been.
"We are now even more terrified for her. We want thank Natalie's amazing friends, who work so hard to support her and everyone on here pulling together. You have all given us so much strength as a family. You have given us hope when before we thought there was none. You are all kind, wonderful people."
The Gazette contacted the Kempinski hotel chain, which operates the Emirates Palace Hotel, for a comment, but had not received one before going to press.
The hotel previously said that they believed Natalie's condition could not have been caused by the accident alone - an argument which the family have said has been subsequently ruled out by forensic medical experts.
Justice for Natalie
THE Justice for Natalie Facebook page had gathered more than 5,000 likes by the time the Gazette went to press on Tuesday, with friends, family and others offering their support.
Louise Blainey, from Brentwood, wrote: "So many amazing memories, when I think of them and see Natalie in these pics I can't help but cry.
"You have it so right, Natalie Is the most lively, kind, funny, sweet and caring person I know and the memories I have of our sleepovers, parties, nights just all overflow in my mind.
"The world, my world would be a much darker place without Natalie.
"So please get behind her and her family and put this petition where ever you can. Justice for Natalie!!!"
Melissa Lindley wrote: "Natalie, You are a strong individual and a real fighter!
"Do not lose hope – you have an amazing family and group of friends around you that love and care for you so much and you have even touched the hearts of so many people here and we are all being strong and fighting your corner so have faith that "Natalie's Army" will pull through for you.You just focus on yourself and resting up to get fitter and stronger every day."
Go to www.facebook.com/JusticeForNatalie to see more posts and register your support.