Threat to the 32-year Manchester man brought his mother and father to Thailand when his medical condition continued to worsen after contracting a flu virus on the Phi Phi Phi islands sometime around December 27th last. He is still facing more than a year in medical recovery having been left with a hole in one lung.

32-year-old UK man Ashley Shorley has just come out of emergency surgery that lasted five hours on his lungs after contracting an acute and severe form of the type A flu virus in Thailand. His parents, Christopher and Julie Shorley were told by doctors at Bangkok’s prestigious Bumrungrad Hospital that their son’s condition was ‘touch and go’ as doctors were forced to operate to remove relentless levels of pus and abscess in his lungs before the poison spread to his heart.

Andrew Shorley enjoying his trip to Thailand in December. He is believed to have contracted the virus somewhere while travelling among the Phi Phi islands in Krabi province. The 32-year-old’s life was probably saved this week when doctors in Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital undertook 5 hours of surgery to remove pus and abscesses from his lungs that were threatening his life following a flu infection.

A UK man is lying in a Bangkok hospital with a hole in his lungs and on oxygen, after doctors were forced to perform emergency surgery after he developed an acute form of flu on the Phi Phi island at the end of last year that rapidly spun out of control into a monstrous lung infection and pneumonia.

Initially transferred by fast boat to hospital in Phuket, 32-year-old Ashley Shorley was later moved by air ambulance flying at sea level to Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital recognised as one of Thailand’s leading medical centres.

Expert treatment and surgery at a Bangkok hospital probably saved Ashley’s life this week

There is no doubt that had the UK man not reached the intensive care ward of the leading hospital he may well not be alive after what has been a harrowing ordeal also for his mother and father who flew to Thailand when their son’s condition showed alarming signs of deterioration in recent days.

Doctors discovered the young man had developed large amounts of pus and abscesses on his lungs from the viral infection which even left large, glowering scars on his back as the disease spread and the young man laboured to breathe.

Doctors performed emergency surgery as his situation became ‘touch and go’ with fears for his heart

In recent days, doctors at Bumrungrad had to decide to perform emergency surgery as the man’s condition had reached what his parents have told friends was a ‘touch and go’ situation to save Ashley’s life. That was according to the UK man’s doctors and medical team as they worked to arrest the infection which had now developed into pneumonia. They first had to wait for an inflamed temperature to come down before they went in to save Ashley’s life.

Parents walked the streets of Bangkok

Ashley’s father Christopher from Thornton in Lancashire told friends and family back in the UK  that all he and his wife Julie could do was walk the clamorous streets of Bangkok as doctors tried to save their son for what had become a monstrous lung infection.

Doctors had serious concerns at the extent of the infection and that poisonous puss in the man’s lungs would extend into his heart cutting short his life.

5-hour surgery a success leaving UK man with a hole in one lung and many months of treatment ahead

As Ashley’s parents walked through Bangkok, they received a phone call from doctors at Bumrungrad coming out of surgery. They told the parents that the operation had been a success and later showed them evidence of what they had removed from their son’s lungs.

‘They had to do a five-hour operation, we were walking around the streets of Bangkok until we got the call. The first thing the doctor said was it has been a success. We have removed all of the stuff from his lungs,’ Julie told the Manchester Evening News this week.

Terrifying – what doctors removed from the young man’s lungs – like ‘3 to four pounds of rotten liver’

Ashley’s mother described what doctors later showed the couple they had extracted from their son’s lungs during the extended surgery. ‘It looked like 3 to 4 pounds of rotten liver or meat,’ Julie revealed.

However, the struggle is not finished to save Ashley’s life. He still needs oxygen and there is currently a hole in one of his lungs. The family have been told that it could take over one year of treatment and care to bring him back to full health.

UK man covered by insurance for his medical care

The 32-year-old was lucky, in at least one respect, to have had medical insurance and it has covered his transport, flights and medical expenses. However, the family is now preparing to stay at their son’s bedside to assist him as he recovers from what has so far been a gruelling ordeal.

The family has launched a crowdfunding exercise to pay for these costs. To donate to the family to assist in Ashley’s recovery – click here 

Once played an extra on Coronation Street

Ashley is an ex-student of the University of Manchester and has worked in the nightclub industry while also acting as an extra on Coronation Street, the UK’s most famous TV programme on air since 1960 and set in a fictional inner-city area of Manchester.

Video clip of their son’s lips turning grey spurred the couple to head for Thailand to be with him

His mother told the Manchester Evening News this week that they had decided to head for Thailand when her son sent her video clip showing his lips had turned grey. Earlier, the young man had been updating her on his deteriorating condition since he first fell ill with the viral infection only weeks ago.

Young man initially bewildered by the virulent flu

At first, Ashley was bewildered at the virulent nature of the flu which weighed him down further and further and updated his mother by text on his progress.

By the time his mother and father reached Bumrungrad Hospital last week, the young man was attached to machines and respirators. When he saw his mother he said: ‘Mum, I’m dying here.’

This caused Julie to break down and call home to friends and family.

Ordeal for young man and family

The ordeal for the UK man and his family is by no means over but his medical condition is better after the emergency surgery saved his life. He is now reported to be more alive and able to talk.

‘He has massive scars on his back, his lungs were covered in plasma and they could not expand. He has lost five stone, he looks so thin,’ Julie explained.

Chinese virus outbreak worsens

The news of Ashley’s ordeal comes in a week which has seen an escalating and terrifying viral infection in  China where the death toll has now risen 9 and the number of infections confirmed at 400.

Authorities have also confirmed that the infection can be spread by personal contact and fear that it may mutate and spread faster.

International experts believe that the official reported extent of mystery coronavirus is underestimated and are also warning of the impact of the huge migration within and without China, including flights to Thailand associated with the Chinese New Year.

Experts have also pointed out, however, that the virus has been identified quickly and people have been cured of its effects. One expert believes that the outbreak is not as dangerous as the SARS outbreak of 2002 and 2003.

Ashley’s infection was the type A flu virus

Doctors initially tested Ashley and ruled out the mystery new coronavirus identifying his condition as Flu type A.

This is the type of flu often associated with severe outbreaks. It is the most severe type of flu and causes thousands of deaths every year across the world.

Further reading:

Thai health officials vigilant as they brace for Chinese New Year tourists as new virus spreads rapidly in China

Thailand’s health service the sixth best in the world according to new world healthcare index

Canadian at a Ko Samui hospital with a chronic migraine, told 2 hours later he had a malignant brain tumour

UK man stranded in Thailand facing a £100,000 medical bill may be rescued by crowd funding success

Battlefield friends help UK man and wife escape medical bill of £12k in Thailand. Now safely home


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