Injured groom’s extended stay in hospital
SURGICAL complications have dashed a Cairns groom's hopes of being released from hospital three months after a near-fatal bucks night moped accident.
Ashley Hickman, then 32, was medevaced to Perth in a coma and suffering a fractured skull after he rode into a building in Bali on August 31.
After life-saving surgery at Kuta Hospital, he was flown back to Australia at huge personal cost to his family and fiancee Tam Matthews.
The Smithfield painter was admitted to Royal Perth Hospital, where surgeons again operated to reduce swelling on his brain.
While the groom lay in a coma, the couple's September wedding day, planned for Bluewater at Trinity Park, passed by.
Now awake and regaining mobility, Mr Hickman was dealt a cruel blow when the titanium plate inserted in his skull became infected.
"He had to have it removed a couple of weeks ago, Ms Matthews said.
"He was ready to be discharged on November 20 but will be spending a bit more time in hospital as the plate can't go back in until next year."
Mr Hickman is back on bed rest and again wheelchair-bound when he ventures beyond the ward.
"We're just waiting on medical clearance for him to be able to walk again, hoping that he'll have the plate back in January," Ms Matthews said.
The infection has required an intravenous drip of antibiotics for two hours each day.
Beyond that complication, the accident will have lasting affects on Mr Hickman.
"He has also lost all hearing in his left ear, so we need to confirm any plans for surgery to rectify that," Ms Mathews said.
"He is managing everything quite well. He has lost almost all use of his left hand and has been working really hard in rehab and modifying the way he does things so that he doesn't need to rely on others.
"He's staying positive and taking everything one day at a time."
The cause of the accident is still unclear - it is understood Mr Hickman's groomsmen later saw an oil slick near where he reportedly lost control and crashed.
Despite holding travel insurance, Mr Hickman did not carry an international driver's licence.
This left him uninsured and exposed to horrendous medical bills plus the cost of transport back to Australia.
The flight cost more than $50,000.