An Australian tourist on holiday in Bali has had his life saved thanks to medical teams and generous blood donations by fellow travelers on the island. 29-year-old Josh Ward had not been in Bali for more than 12 hours when a freak accident led him to slip on a poolside, falling into a glass door and nearly severing his arm from his body. Having severed an artery, bicep, and tricep muscles and losing near-fatal amounts of blood, Ward’s fiancé Chantelle Gschwend took to social media to call for blood donations.
The painter from Adelaide had traveled to Bali for a holiday with his partner as part of a scouting mission for their upcoming wedding. Gschwend has told reporters how the poolside looked like a ‘murder scene’ after he fell. He was rushed to BIMC Hospital by paramedics and later transferred to Sanglah Hospital, where he was taken in for a seven and half hour operation to try and save his life. At one point, doctors had to start to consider the possibility of amputation, but fortunately, his arm has been saved.
Nevertheless, the whole care plan hung in the balance as there was insufficient B-negative blood available for a life saving transfusion. With little other option available, Ward’s fiancé took to social media to put a call out for blood donors. As has happened so many times before, the international community came flooding forward to offer support. In an update posted on the Bali Bogans Facebook group, Gschwendn thanked every for their support.
She wrote, “I have been told that more Aussie’s have tried to donate at their blood, but the blood bank are turning them away because they have already received enough blood! Wow I cannot believe it I am so grateful thankyou so much. I can’t believe the power of social media we are incredibly overwhelmed for the support from everyone. We are currently on the 3rd transfusion. It would be 6th all up”.
Dozens of people have commented their support for Ward and wish him well in his recovery. One wrote, “Really hope your husband is on the road to recovery I got a message from my friend in Adelaide about his accident and sounds awful. So good to see so many people reaching out to help him”. Another said “Awesome to hear! Thanks to all BBs that gave or offered donations. You all rock. Hope he’s on the road to recovery soon”.
The Bali Bogans Facebook group has over 332,000 members, many of whom are from Australia. While the page is predominantly dedicated to travel recommendations and sharing holiday experiences, the page has proven to be a vital resource for foreigners in need.
When accidents and medical emergencies happen to foreigners in Bali, the page is often the first and only of call for travelers seeking community support if they are told by hospitals that there is insufficient supplies in the blood bank. In the sadly dozens of incidences where lifesaving blood transfusions are needed, the community has proven to be a reliable forum for spreading the news and encouraging people to come forward to donate blood.
In a separate post, one ‘Bali Bogan’ raised a digital cheer to celebrate the online community, writing “Be proud you beautiful people! Your blood donations have helped a young bloke survive and get back home! Bali Bogans rock!”
Ward and his family have been waiting for the all-clear to be allowed to travel back to Australia to recover at home. Gschwend replied to one well wisher’s comment earlier today “We are being cleared to fly home today so hopefully we can get back to Australia!!”
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