Hope is high for the Australian mum of two Peta Richards as she wakes up from an induced coma. On the 1st of April Peta Richards nipped out from her family’s holiday accommodation for ‘one last birthday present’ for her three-year-old son. She was joined on her holiday by her husband Matt Richards and their two sons Sonny, 4, and Alfie, 3. The family had headed to Bali shortly after the relaxation of travel restrictions in late February.
The 36-year-old nurse was thrown from her scooter when she was hit by another driver. The incident is being recorded as a hit and run since the person who crashed into her fled the scene and is yet to come forward. According to Peta Richard’s friend Rachel Berben, ‘She has her motorbike license, she has her international license, she has travel insurance, she wore a helmet’. That this collision was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Berben has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to support the Richards family during this time. The fundraiser was launched on the 18th of April. The target was to raise AUD $100,000 to support the family in the coming months in what is set to be a lengthy and rigorous recovery. 1,600 donors have collectively raised over $147,000.
On the 1st of April following the crash, she was immediately rushed to the International Hospital in Kuta where she was diagnosed with bleeding on the brain, intensive brain swelling, and a severely fractured skull. The medical teams at the International Hospital in Kuta performed life-saving surgery to relieve pressure on the brain. This procedure involved removing part of the skull bone to enable pressure to be reduced.
After spending 10-days in hospital in Bali, Richards was flown back to Melbourne via a medical evacuation flight. The whole operation has been coordinated by Peta’s husband, Matt, and the medical teams. According to updates on the GoFundMe page, she will require more surgery in the coming weeks and will be transferred to an intensive neurology rehabilitation ward to continue her road to recovery.
The Richards family had been waiting two years for this trip of a lifetime to Bali. They had been in Bali for five weeks before the devastating crash. Following the incident, Peta Richards’ mother and sister joined Matt in Bali to help share the responsibilities of care for young Sonny and Alfie.
When speaking to the Daily Mail, Ms. Bergen suggested that Richard’s two young sons are not fully aware of what has happened or what their mum’s future looks like now. ‘It’s so hard to tell a three and four-year-old what’s happened, they just think she’s sick. It’s just devastating.’ It is clear that the injuries sustained in the crash are life-changing, although to what extent has not been confirmed to the press.
Medical evacuation flights are extremely costly and require huge logistical efforts between hospitals, medical staff, insurance companies, and the families of the patients. This is not the first time a traveler to Bali has had to have a medical evacuation to their home country following an accident involving a scooter. In 2021 well known American travel blogger Kaitlyn McCaffery was left in a coma after a scooter crash. Her family and friends had to raise over USD 250,000 to pay for a medical evacuation to California.
Friends have described Peta Richards as ‘caring, kind, selfless’ and have spoken of how she worked long hours during the height of the pandemic as a nurse treating Covid-19 patients. Richards remains in hospital in Melbourne but has been transferred out of the ICU and onto a ward. According to updates on the GoFundMe page, she is awake and ‘making small steps day by day’.
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