A British plumber working in New Zealand is lucky to be alive after having part of his skull removed after an alleged assault in a bar.
Josh Storer, 26, was rushed to hospital in Auckland after the incident on July 9, where doctors had no choice but to remove the huge piece of his skull to reduce the pressure on his brain, DerbyshireLive reports.
Josh, from Spondon, Derbyshire, moved to New Zealand three years ago, where he has set up a new life working for a drainage company.
Doctors have said it’s a “miracle” Josh is still alive, after he was kept in a medically induced coma for three weeks.
A 56-year-old man has been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in connection with the incident.
He originally appeared at North Shore District Court on July 15 and will next appear on October 27.
Josh’s family faced an agonising wait to see if the New Zealand government would grant them exemption to be able to travel into the country as they still grapple with a Covid-19 lockdown.
When the exemption was granted and after making the 11,300 mile journey to get entry, they then had to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks before before being allowed to see him.
His sister Sian – who was allowed to see him for the first time on September 22 – said his future prognosis is still uncertain.
Josh was released from a rehabilitation centre to the care of his family in time to celebrate his birthday, but is facing a long road of recovery.
Sian said: “When we dropped down to level 3 lockdown in Auckland recently, one designated visitor was allowed to go and see Josh each day for an hour and he and I were finally reunited.
“Josh was so happy when I visited and his mood has lifted since the visits started. I was over the moon to see him and was quite emotional.
“He’s progressed really well in the rehabilitation centre, although he has had a few falls due to the blood not going to his brain fast enough when he stands up. He’s had a temperature and also low blood pressure – his heart beats faster than it should.
“We’ve been told that when we get to level 2 in the pandemic, Josh will be able to have his operation.
“But he has been told that his skull, that was removed originally to relieve pressure on his brain after the incident, is no longer suitable and that a replacement skull will be made for him.”
The family were delighted to have Josh with them in time for his birthday.
Sian added: “Being with us will go a long way to aid in his recovery and mental wellbeing. He will be an outpatient and still receive after care.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the exact same Josh as before the accident, but I would say mostly.
“He’s forgetful, he’s going to have some trouble with problem solving and things like that, and emotions can be up and down hour to hour.
“In terms of the damage, that’s irreversible. There’s quite a lot of scarring on the frontal lobe.
“The doctors are shocked that he got this far to be honest. They told us to prepare for the worst, so to be honest I think he’s a bit of a miracle.”
The procedure Josh underwent to remove a bond flap is called a craniectomy and if not replaced with the original bone either a metal plate, or a synthetic material will be inserted.
His medical expenses are expected to be covered by insurance.
The family are also frantically fundraising to cover their living costs in New Zealand for the next few months.
They are also waiting to hear if they will have to pay quarantine expenses of £6,150 or if they will be waived.
A total of £14,620 has been raised on a GoFundMe page “Help the Storer family get to Josh” set up by a friend of the family and more money has been raised by friends in New Zealand towards the cost of flying and staying in the country.