'Strangled and stranded': crowdfunding launched for Belgian man assaulted in Panama

'Strangled and stranded': crowdfunding launched for Belgian man assaulted in Panama
A crowdfunding campaign was launched to repatriate Belgian man living in Panama left severely injured after an attack. Credit: © Belga

A crowdfunding campaign for the repatriation of a Belgian man left severely injured after being the victim of an attack in Panama has collected over €10,000 since it was launched ten days ago.

Originally from Brussels, Didier Spautz was attacked by an employee of a rooftop bar he runs with his partner in Panama's Bocas del Toro province.

"Didier was assaulted at work from behind by a staff member. He was strangled and lost consciousness," the crowdfunding page, launched by the sister of Spautz's partner, reads.

The campaign, shared under the name "Strangled & Stranded Please Help Didier," aims to repatriate Spautz to Belgium as the extent of his injuries requires treatment that cannot be covered by his insurance in Panama, according to Belgian media.

The family decided to launch the campaign when Spautz "collapsed and was unable to move" after he was discharged from a local hospital despite extensive injuries.

According to the campaign's statement, "over half of his brain" was deprived of oxygen in the attack and the Brussels man also reportedly suffers from limb pains, headaches and poor balance, and his vision was reduced to 80% in one eye.

A CAT scan performed in a different hospital revealed that Spautz's state was critical, as he had aorta and carotid obstructions as well as brain lesions, according to the crowdfunding page.

"We are now in serious financial trouble and need help urgently to pay the medical bills," the page reads.

The treatment Spautz requires can only be provided in a private hospital, which is not covered by his insurance plan, so his family are trying to gather enough funds to fly him back to Belgium.

The Belgian Embassy in Panama is reportedly aware of the situation and is in constant contact with the family, meanwhile, hundreds of people have donated a combined €11,952 out of a goal of €75,000.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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