TravelNewsAsia.com
First Published: 26/5/2017

Steven Howard Discharged from Thai Hospital; Returns to England for Recovery - Updated: 15 June 2017

[Updated: 11 June 2017] BRIEF SUMMARY: Steven Howard was hospitalised in Thailand from 23 May 2017 to 11 June 2017 following a freak accident. Unfortunately his right eye was so badly damaged that it had to be removed, and this was done in surgery on 8 June 2017. He returned to England on 13 June and had a conforma installed in his eye on 15 June. Eventually a fake plastic eye will be installed. He will be in the UK for more medical treatment and importantly to recuperate and be with friends and family during this difficult and painful time. He can be reached at: 38 Highgrove Avenue, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7HR, England, and by WhatsApp on: +66834951888. He will be in England for at least a few months, and most likely until early next year. END of BRIEF SUMMARY.

On 23 May 2017, Steven Howard, Founder and Editor of ASIATravelTips.com and TravelNewsAsia.com, tripped on some rusting barbed wire camouflaged on the forest floor by rotting tree leaves and other plant waste to start a series of events which could well change his life forever.

There is also a cow involved in this story, an angry neighbour with a loaded and drawn slingshot, and a friend's mother who could not be bothered to build a fence, but that entirely truthful side of the story is for another day, but it will be told.

 Breaking his fall was a dirty branch from a felled bamboo tree which, while not sharp, entered his right eye with almost Rolls-Royce engineering precision, doing some very serious damage in the process.

He was rushed to the hospital at Kaset Wisai in Thailand's Roi-Et Province and after a few quick tests to see if his right eye was responsive to light (it wasn't) they immediately sent him by ambulance to the much larger and better equipped Roi-Et Hospital, 60 kms away, for tests and evaluation.

Steven Howard

An eye specialist doctor came back from her home to see him and after a few tests said she would perform, surgery on 24 May. This surgery involved cleaning dirt from the eye and doing stitches in three places on the upper and lower eyelids.

Up until Tuesday, 30 May 2017, (some 7 days after being admitted) the doctor had not been able to see inside the eye to assess the damage. This was for two reasons. One, there was and still is too much blood in the eye, and two, the upper eyelid was proving very reluctant and difficult to move.

This eventually had to be done manually and on Tuesday (30/5) the upper eyelid was pushed up to allow the doctor in charge at least a brief glance at the status of the eye. This procedure was repeated with a Consultant Doctor in the evening of the same day using a Spectro-something to have a closer look.

Unfortunately, the initial opinion of these two brief looks into the right eye seem to show, according to the doctors, that i have cornea abrasion - which is something similar to a skin abrasion and actually repairs itself overtime though this can be speeded up through some eye drops. That's the good news.

 Much more potentially serious however, is the blood and the numerous blood clots in the eye. The blood is at both the front of the eye in the lens, and the "back is full of it" as one Doctor described it to me. This needs at the very least one operation, which I believe is called an Anterior Chamber Wash-Out. After that operation the doctors should then be in a better position to decide what needs to be done next.

The Doctor at Roi-Et Hospital very honestly admitted to me that she does not have the experience to do such an operation, and that she would be concerned for me if any complications arose while it was taking place. This Doctor at Roi-Et Hospital has impressed me greatly, as has the entire EENT team there, and so I fully respect the courage it took for her to be so honest with me.

Srinagarind Hospital - Faculty of Medicine at Khon Kaen University

I was transferred to Srinagarind Hospital - Faculty of Medicine at Khon Kaen University, about 150 kms from Roi-Et city centre

 Khon Kaen University is extremely well respected throughout the region and widely regarded by many as one of the very best in Thailand. Not only that, but it is also home to one of Thailand's very best eye doctors and surgeons which makes it an excellent choice for me after Roi-Et.

Since I arrived on Thursday (1 June) I have been prodded and pulled in every possible way imaginable. I have given blood, urine and stool samples, had x-rays taken and even had a cardiovascular exam, all in addition to more tests on my eye to see what exactly is going on.

After the first day, the doctors decided that they believe that I have an Optical Nerve Injury. This was investigated on Friday, 2 June with a CT scan. I have also been put on a very high dose of very strong steroids which I are being given to me for 3 days. These are so strong you have to sign a separate disclaimer saying you understand the many, many possible side effects, one of which is death! Let's hope it does not get to that stage, but it is normal for the hospital to cover themselves, especially in this day of litigation - and they can't be that bad, as they haven't asked me to pay in advance! ;-)

The results from the CT scan came back on Saturday morning and show much more damage than we had originally realised. There are numerous fractures all around the eye, including the Superior Orbital Wall and the Inferior Orbital Wall. The Inferior Orbital Wall seems to be fractured more than 50%, and the Orbital Globe seems to be crushed and ruptured. The little good news in all this is that fractures in the Superior Orbital Wall (next to the brain) have not passed through the Dura (the brain's final layer of protection) and no air or blood has leaked onto the brain. There also seems, from the images, that no spinal fluid leakage has occurred in the brain. This is very important.

I went for the Anterior Chamber Washout Operation on Monday. I was under full general anesthetic and the procedure went as well as can expected with me waking up and dreaming of steak and kidney pudding, chips, peas and gravy, among other things!

Unfortunately my Doctor, who has been brilliant throughout this entire ordeal, discovered that massive damage at the back of the eye. He tried to repair some of it, but he says that it is impossible to fully repair and as such poses a risk to my brain and also my good eye which is in 100% working condition at the moment.

 For that reason, it was decided on Tuesday (6 June 207) that my right eye will be removed on Wednesday and will be replaced by a ball and conforma and then eventually a glass eye. Despite fasting since midnight the evening before, not drinking or eating anything, the operation could not be done on the Wednesday and was instead done on Thursday afternoon instead. It was a much longer process than I had initially expected lasting around 2-3 hours and I must admit the pain level on returning to the ward was extreme to sat the least.

I have since been on another course of very strong antibiotics which today (Saturday) thankfully switch from drip form to tablet form, which should be much more conformable as the nurses are having problems finding veins to stick tubes in!!

There is also damage to the muscle in my right eye which restricts movement but as I no longer have a real eye there, that should not matter too much.

I was discharged from the hospital in Khon Kaen on 11 June 2017 and arrived back in England on 13 June 2017. The conforma, which probably should have been installed during the eye removal surgery in Khon Kaen, was installed on 15 June 2017 with a vew to eventually installing a fake plastic eye some time in the near future.

 If all goes well, I plan to not only resume the travel news in force, but also do HD video interviews with industry leaders in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland and already have a list of quite a lot of companies I would like to speak with about that. Tourism is after all a two-way street and I think it would be very interesting to hear what some companies are doing to encourage visitors from ASEAN and Asia Pacific in general. If you would like to do a video interview with me, whether you are a hotel, tourist attraction, distillery, place of interest or whatever, send me a whatsapp on the details below. All previous video interviews (600+) can be seen in my YouTube channel.

Because of all this, I am unable to continue the daily travel news or any other updates as would normally happen. Considering my condition, this likely won't happen now until end-June 2017 at the earliest.

Pictures will eventually be uploaded, as well as some articles about what it is like to live in two different government hospitals in Isaan, Thailand for about 21 days, but for now I will leave it at that.

Thank you for your understanding and hope to resume operations just as soon as we can.

If you would like to contact Steven it is best to do so by WhatsApp on: +66834951888 as he cannot use the computer much due to the pain it causes the eye. Responses may also take a while. Thank you.

Editor's note: My apologies for any typing or grammatical errors above. It is a lot harder than I imagined typing with just one eye would be, especially one which is so full of medicine that the words seems to float off the screen and merge into some form of soup! It is also quite strange that just writing this small piece causes a lot of distress and pain to the eye that cannot see and is bandaged up, so please forgive me for now, for not elaborating too much.

BIO - Steven Howard, Editor / Founder

Steven Howard of ASIATravelTips.com / TravelNewsAsia.com

Our editor (and founder), Steven Howard, worked for two of the largest banks in the world before entering the travel industry in Asia over 20 years ago.

Steven has been Publisher of ASIA Travel Trade magazine - the oldest travel trade magazine in Asia, and Frequent Traveller magazine - the leading corporate consumer travel magazine in Asia.

 He has also worked as Group Publisher of Panacea Publishing Asia, managing well known regional travel magazines such as Mix! - Asia's Creative Meetings Magazine, Business Traveller China and Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Steven Howard of ASIATravelTips.com / TravelNewsAsia.com

Steven is also a professional photographer and videographer. Not only has he conducted well over over five hundred (500) exclusive video interviews with Ministers of Tourism from different countries, CEOs, MDs and other leading figures from within the travel and aviation industries, but has had his photography published in magazines around the world, and even a movie!

He has a passion for travel, cycling, sports in general, as well as the immense benefits that sport tourism can bring to a destination, both in the short and long term.

Being a firm believer that 5-star does not always mean best, he loves to discover new places, hotels, ideas and concepts, and to share those finds with readers.

Never one to shy away from getting his hands dirty, he is as happy sat in the cold rain taking pictures of an event, as he is sipping the finest wines, whiskies and Champagnes in the executive floor of a true 5-star hotel.

See other recent news regarding: Steven Howard, Ubon Ratchathani, Roi-Et, Khon Kaen.

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