Disabled veteran stranded in Italy after falling ill during anniversary trip

What began as a European vacation of a lifetime turned into a dire situation when a  man fell severely sick with H1N1 influenza while in Italy.

Stan Thomas, a disabled U.S. Marine veteran from Los Angeles, who is in remission from multiple myeloma, is fighting for his life at an Italian hospital.

Stan Thomas, center, fell severely ill with H1N1 influenza while visiting Italy for his wedding anniversary in May of 2019. (Credit: Thomas family)

He became sick shortly after arriving in Europe and was admitted to an intensive care unit on May 9 as he developed pneumonia and his temperature rose to 104 degrees, family said. He has been on a mechanical ventilator for the past nine days.

While the couple has health insurance, and specifically purchased travel insurance for the trip, the insurer will not pay to move Thomas to a facility with a higher level of care, according to the family. While Thomas' doctors say it's necessary, the insurance company says it's too risky.

Thomas' wife, Robin, their four sons and other family are desperate to get the seriously sick man to better health care and ultimately return him to the United States.

A fund to help the family has been set up online.

Editor's note: Stan Thomas' wife Robin Thomas is senior vice president of research for studios at Tribune Media, which owns PIX11.

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