They call this a 'normal life': Abu Dhabi hotel bosses deny claim of brain-damaged British bride who faces a lifetime of round-the-clock care after freak accident
By Tahira Yaqoob
Since the accident Natalie Creane has been drifting in and out of coma in intensive care
A British newlywed left with a life-threatening brain injury after a TV panel fell on her head in a five-star hotel needs round-the-clock care, her family told a court today.
Natalie Creane, 33, cannot be left alone after the incident in the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi left her suffering epileptic seizures and a traumatic brain injury, her husband Trevor said.
He was summoned by a judge to give evidence in Abu Dhabi Higher Civil Claims Court as part of her £3.5million compensation claim against the hotel, which has denied responsibility and disputed her version of events.
But according to court records, the hotel used pictures of her wedding from her Facebook page to disprove her claims.
It stated: 'We have presented evidence showing she has continued with her lifestyle as normal.'
The statement added the claim was 'a figment of the claimant's imagination' and said it has supplied photos of the wardrobe and the panel that was said to have fallen, adding as it weighed 2.2kg, it could not have inflicted the injuries she described.
Any accident would have happened because the wardrobe had been tampered with, it added.
In an earlier court hearing, the hotel asked for Mrs Creane's medical records to be dismissed amid claims they were inaccurately translated.
A verdict was adjourned until September in the five-minute hearing but Mr Creane said outside the courtroom: 'She cannot be left alone as she is very unwell. She can walk but she is very unsteady and listless.
'She takes a huge amount of medication to stop the seizures and she is not with it 100 per cent all the time.'
Ordeal: Doctors have warned that Mrs Creane could die if she suffers another large seizure
Mrs Creane was too sick too attend the hearing and was instead being cared for at the couple's Dubai home by her mother Angie Smith.
In the latest setback, she was hospitalised a fortnight ago and on Tuesday underwent surgery to have a catheter inserted into a vein to make it easier to give her regular doses of medication. The operation left her exhausted and unable to even send a text message as 'her motor skills are very weak', according to her mother.
The family has been fighting a four-year battle to get compensation to pay for her treatment as their medical bills have been stacking up. Mrs Creane is claiming damages for losing her job as a human resources director as a result of her illness, as well as moral and psychological damage inflicted by the hotel.
Five star luxury: Example of a bedroom at The Emirates Palace Hotel
The incident happened shortly after Mr Creane proposed in July 2008 when the couple booked a romantic stay at the Emirates Palace to celebrate their engagement.
Mrs Creane was putting her shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe when an overhead TV panel, which she says was not fixed properly to the wardrobe, fell and hit her hard on her head, knocking her unconscious. She was found on the floor and driven to hospital.
She says since the freak incident, she has suffered post-traumatic epilepsy, which causes repeat seizures, and traumatic brain injury.
Natalie Creane had just got engaged to husband Trevor and was celebrating in Abu Dhabi when the piece of wood fell on her in 2008
Her condition has left her in a coma at least three times and caused blood clots in her lungs and legs, blood poisoning, paralysis, temporary loss of sight and speech, memory loss and debilitating headaches.
She has been admitted to intensive care more than 20 times and on each occasion, her mother and father Derick have flown to the UAE from Britain, not knowing what condition she will be in when they arrive.
Mr Smith, of South Weald, Essex, said: 'Each time we fly the seven hours out to Dubai in an emergency, we do not know if Nat will be alive or dead when we reach the destination.'
The family has had to save her life on numerous occasions as she has broken bones when she has collapsed and once even slipped underwater and nearly drowned while having a bath. She was dragged out just in time.
Mr Creane, who moved to the UAE with his wife nine years ago, said outside court: 'We are here to get the party responsible to compensate Natalie. This has been ongoing for four years.
'We just hope we will get a favourable decision. All we want is the best medical treatment for her and a favourable judgment.'
The couple postponed their wedding three times but married in the summer of 2009 when Mrs Creane briefly recovered.
The hearing was adjourned until September 6.
Her family have created a website and Facebook campaign to raise awareness about their daughter's life-changing injury.
The Justice for Natalie online campaign on Facebook and Twitter now has more than 12,000 followers, with people signing up to support her and her relatives.
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