Home Headlines American tourist seriously hurt during beach getaway in Tulum

American tourist seriously hurt during beach getaway in Tulum

by Yucatan Times
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Jared Hill shattered three vertebrae in his neck and was instantly paralyzed when a wave came crashing down on him while he was surfing in Tulum, Mexico.

Just days into a beach getaway in Tulum, Mexico, Justin Raiford and Jared Hill’s vacation turned into a nightmare.

“It’s just scary to me with the travel season coming up that people think like I’m going on vacation, it’s going to be great, just like I did,” Raiford said. 

Raiford and Hill went surfing when all of a sudden a wave crashed down on Hill. 

“It drove him down into the sand and shattered three vertebrae in his neck and he was instantly paralyzed and drowning in the water, and I saw it happening and had to go run over and pull him out of the water,” Raiford said.

He remembers being the only one running towards Hill to help. A manager at the resort there assured them an ambulance was on the way, but after waiting an hour, Raiford decided to call for help himself. 

Three hours after the accident, with Hill in excruciating pain, they finally made it to their first hospital. 

“They saw the CT scan and said, ‘We can’t take him. He’ll die if we try to take him,’” Raiford said. 

Two days and three hospitals later, Hill had his first surgery in Mexico, despite Raiforf wanting to get him back to the U.S. Even with international insurance, Raiford was told he had to pay more than $20,000 out of pocket.

“They had to cut down the back of his head and neck,” Raiford recalls of the surgery. “Something like this happens and you have never felt so helpless, powerless and vulnerable and scared in your life. There’s nothing you can do. You’re at the mercy of someone else.”

After nearly a week, Hill was stable enough to be flown to Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Medical Center. Unfortunately, they arrived to receive more bad news.

“Since they had him strapped down for so long and not moving, his whole right lung has a blood clot and his left one has a half-blood clot. He had a huge pulmonary embolism and also had meningitis,” Raiford said doctors told him.

Raiford is considering taking legal action for everything they went through on their trip, but his priority is Hill’s well-being and recovery. 

As the medical bills pile up, their friends created a GoFundMe account to help.

TYT Newsroom

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