[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.
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
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
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
and so I fully respect the courage it took for her to be so honest with
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
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
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
For that reason, it was decided on Tuesday
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
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
Because of all this, I am unable to continue the daily travel news or any other updates
as would normally happen.
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
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
such as Mix! - Asia's Creative Meetings Magazine, Business Traveller China and Business Traveller Asia
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.
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