An NHS nurse is unable to return to London after a car crash in the Philippines left her paralysed and £20,000 in medical debt.

Candice Montefalcon, a 33-year-old A&E nurse at Northwick Park Hospital near Harrow, had her world turned upside down after a car she was in was hit by a coach and overturned.

Ms Montefalcon, her partner Silvino Poe Bueza, her two children and her brother and sister were in the car travelling to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila, to catch a domestic flight to the Filipino province Pangasinan.

The family who live in Islington were planning to visit Ms Montefalcon’s parents so they could meet Ms Montefalcon’s two sons, Leon and Luke, for the first time.

But the family trip ended in tragedy when the crash happened on July 14 at around 3.50am.

Mr Bueza, who works as a healthcare assistant at a private clinic in the UK, said: “She was the last one we could get out of the car, she was squeezed in one side and she was stuck in between the chair and her head which was outside the window.

“She has no recollection of what happened. The only thing she could remember before her operation was her son Luke who said, ‘mummy I love you’ while she was being carried away and she said she loved him too.”

Ms Montefalcon fractured her spine and ribs and suffered a slight injury to her head. As a result, she was left paralysed from her waist to her feet.

Her four-year-old son Luke had several scratches, her three-month-old son Leon was unharmed and her sister had fractures in her skull but has since recovered.

The family – who forgot to take out holiday insurance - were faced with hospital bills amounting to £20,000, meaning they were unable to pay for a flight back to the UK.

Harrow Times: Children: Luke (left) and Leon (right)Children: Luke (left) and Leon (right)

Doctors in the Philippines said Ms Montefalcon had a fifty-fifty chance of recovering from her injuries and walking again. But after a surgery, there has been some reflex action in her feet and doctors predict her nerves will soon recover.

Mr Bueza has shared concerns that the rehabilitation and physiotherapy to help his partner recover is not as efficient in the Philippines as it is in the UK, so he hopes she can return in time before it is too late.

Ms Montefalcon, who worked at Northwick Park Hospital for seven years, has seen an enormous wave of support from her colleagues as they are trying to fundraise money for the medical care and to bring Ms Montefalcon and her family back to London.

One colleague has launched a JustGiving page which has raised nearly £11,200.

Mr Bueza said the family is thankful to see friends and members of the community working together to support them.

Mr Bueza added: “She’s trying to overcome the anxiety. Before, you could always see her crying, now she’s trying to deal with it without medication. I keep encouraging her, if she wants to look after her kids then she has to be strong.

“Candice is really amazing, to me she’s a superhero to keep going through what she’s been through. We’re hopeful that she can receive an amazing treatment if we get back to London.”

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