Morphetts back in Australia

By Riverine Herald

THE stranded Morphetts are back in Australia – and both Robert and Robyn have been admitted to The Alfred.

Their son Stewart left Melbourne at 5am Wednesday and returned there at 10pm Saturday with his parents.

He had travelled 31,472km – Echuca to Melbourne to Vienna to Linz and back – in 89 hours to medivac his injured father and distressed mother from the Austrian town where they had been for the previous month, following Robert’s bad fall on a river cruise.

Stewart said his father did not cope well with the exhausting trip – the return journey took 28 hours going Linz, Vienna, Dubai and Melbourne.

“Dad is being assessed in The Alfred and mum has been admitted suffering exhaustion and stress,” Stewart said.

“They are probably going to be here a few days while they get over the trip,” he said. “We are just not sure where we go from here.”

The couple’s problems were exacerbated after their travel insurer pulled the plug about three weeks into Robert’s hospitalisation.

That decision not only rocked the couple, both in their late 70s, it left them facing a medical and accommodation bill of at least $60,000 and probably closer to $80,000 by the time they had paid for flights home.

What was to have been the Echuca-Moama couple’s dream retirement holiday – their first trip to Europe – has become a living nightmare.

Their family here has been devastated by the injury to their father and grandfather and have launched a GoFundMe page to try and help with their mountain of debt — it is currently on $41,000.

“They are pensioners, they don’t have that kind of money and it is causing so much stress.”

“Mum has been trying to handle all that on her own in a country where she does not understand the language – even conversing with doctors and nurses has been frustratingly difficult,” Stewart added.

“As well as the fall, after he had been in the hospital a short while dad got a bad lung infection and that had to be treated at the same time.

“You can understand why their, and our, stress levels are off the meter.

“Mum is barely hanging on by her fingernails,” he said.