South Shields dad in coma for 12 days after fall in Tenerife caused a fractured skull

Robert Waugh and his partner Alison Higgins on holiday in Tenerife before the tragic fall
Robert Waugh and his partner Alison Higgins on holiday in Tenerife before the tragic fall

A man was left fighting for his life in a coma for 12 days after he was found in Tenerife with a severely fractured skull.

South Shields man Robert Waugh’s family have been told that the 48-year-old fell approximately 15ft on to concrete while on holiday in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife.

Michael Waugh fundraiser to help bring his father home from overseas after a fall left him with fractured skull

Michael Waugh fundraiser to help bring his father home from overseas after a fall left him with fractured skull

The dad-of-three fractured his skull in three places, broke both eye sockets and suffered a bleed on the brain, which needed urgent surgery.

But when Robert awoke from a coma 12 days after the accident in the town’s harbour area, he told family members he had been hit from behind.

Now his family are doing all they can to bring him home, but he’s not yet well enough to fly without a doctor.

His son Michael set up a Go Fund Me page after friends and family said they wanted to help get Robert, a self-employed painter and decorator, back.

Puerto de la Cruz - where Robert and Alison were stying on holiday

Puerto de la Cruz - where Robert and Alison were stying on holiday

The 27-year-old said he heard of the accident in an early morning call on January 18 from his grandfather, Robert.

By 4pm that day they were both on a plane to Tenerife.

Michael said: “It was heartbreaking. Sitting on the plane I didn’t know if he’d still be alive when we got there.”

Almost a month on from the fall, Robert, who lives in Wakefield Avenue, South Shields, is recovering well, but has short-term memory loss.

A harbour in Puerto de la Cruz.

A harbour in Puerto de la Cruz.

Michael said: “He’s doing all right. His health generally is improving, but he has short-term memory loss.

“He doesn’t realise he’s in hospital in Tenerife or that his mam has passed away. He’s saying things that don’t make sense.

“He’s had a bad bleed on the brain.”

Robert was enjoying his first holiday abroad in 10 years with partner Alison Higgins.

Michael said: “He was found in the harbour at the bottom of a drop on to some concrete.

“The police think it’s an accident, but when my dad first came out of his coma he told us he had been hit from behind.

“He’s not always making sense, so we don’t know what to believe.”

The family faced a turbulent 48 hours after they were told Robert’s travel insurance wouldn’t pay out, as there was alcohol in Robert’s system.

Thankfully they’ve been told medical bills will be covered through his European Health Insurance Card.

Now they’re doing all they can to bring him home.

“We are hoping to get him flown home soon, but have to find out if he can fly without a doctor,” said Michael, who works in Washington.

“If he can’t, then we need to try and fund that, and also find out all the details on how we arrange it. Another alternative is to wait until he can fly home without a docter.”

As it stands, if Robert was flown home, he’ll need to be taken straight to the RVI in Newcastle.

So far almost £1,000 has been raised to support Robert and his family as they wait to find out what long-term effects the injuries may have.

Robert set up Tu Point Decorators four years ago and his family say he loves his job - but they have had to cancel jobs he had booked in after he was due to return from holiday.

Anyone who would like to donate to Robert and Michael’s page click here.