Alex García, the tourist rescued in Thailand: “If I stay a few more days in Bangkok, I won't tell about it”

After almost three months of ordeal, Alex García begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
14 May 2024 Tuesday 16:22
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Alex García, the tourist rescued in Thailand: “If I stay a few more days in Bangkok, I won't tell about it”

After almost three months of ordeal, Alex García begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The 36-year-old Basque tourist spent two months on the brink of death in a hospital in Thailand and was repatriated on April 21 by a plane from the Aeroevacuation Medical Unit (UMAER), thanks to an operational complex made up of 11 people, including anesthetists, intensivists, critical care nurses or air evacuation health technicians.

He has just left the ICU of the Cruces Hospital (Barakaldo) and has finally been reunited with his two children, aged 8 and 5. His situation is still delicate and he is very attentive to the results of a scan that has just been performed on him, but he responds very cheerful and optimistic to LA VANGUARDIA's questions.

First of all, how are you feeling once you're out of the ICU?

I feel very good, strong. They are taking me off medications and, as of today, I have no pain. We have to wait for the scan to see how I feel inside, but my feelings are good

How has the reunion with your children been?

Awesome. On Sunday I saw them for the first time in three months. I didn't want them to come to the ICU because I was with the tubes and the oxygen glasses, and I didn't want them to be left with that image. They came on Sunday and it has been an impressive morale booster. We had made a video call, but it is not the same.

You and your family have lived through an ordeal of almost three months. Tell us how you started…

My wife and I went to Thailand on vacation in February, to spend a few days, and everything went wrong after the fifth or sixth day. Previously, while here, I had gone to the emergency room for stomach pains, but they thought it was nothing and since, in general, I felt fine, I was able to travel. After a few days, however, the pain increased and became worse. The situation became more complicated and I ended up in a hospital in Bangkok, with necrotizing pancreatitis and fearing for my life.

Furthermore, all attempts to return encouraged by his family failed, something that must have been very frustrating...

It was very hard. My wife was with me for almost a month, until March 20. The objective was to return that day in two planes. Because of my situation, I was on a different plane, and my wife left a little earlier on a conventional flight. So, she was able to leave, but they wouldn't let me. From then on I was left alone and in a very serious situation in a hospital in Bangkok. Later, a second repatriation was attempted, adjusted to the conditions in which I found myself, but they left me there again. The frustration was tremendous.

Did you ever think he was staying there?

Yes, you think that you are going to stay there, that you are not going to make it out of Thailand and that you are going to end your days in a hospital in Bangkok. Even when those from the UMAER arrived, I didn't have it all with me because I had already been twice on the verge of returning, without being able to get on the plane.

Were you fully aware of your clinical situation?

The truth is that if. Except for specific moments in which I have had fainting episodes, I have been conscious and knew that I was very bad. I think that if I end up in Bangkok for a few more days I won't count it. The operation to return occurred at the time when I was at my worst, and it represented a drastic change in my situation.

In what sense?

As soon as I boarded the UMAER plane, they extubated me and changed some drains. And with that my face changed. Furthermore, the operation at the Cruces hospital, upon arrival, was a turning point. Since then I have been clearly improving. The rescue and everything they have done for me since is what has saved me.

What do you remember about the rescue operation?

As I mentioned, I didn't have it all with me because of the precedents. You come to fear that you might stay there again. Once the plane took off I started to believe it, and it was a tremendous emotion. Afterwards they sedated me and I don't remember almost anything until I got here. Of course, when they took me out on the stretcher and I started to notice the characteristic cool here, I already said 'I'm home'. I want to thank all the people who have helped me, and who have supported the family: my wife, my mother, my brothers... I am very grateful to everyone, especially the people at UMAER.

What are your expectations now? Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Let's go little by little, see what the scanner says and what my body says. But without a doubt, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Leaving the ICU and reuniting with my children has been a huge boost.