A British holidaymaker is stuck in a 'hell hole' hospital in Thailand after he was struck down with suspected leukaemia, his friends have said.

Dean Penson fell ill on the island of Phuket on the southern tip of the country, a few weeks ago and doctors now fear the 41 year old may have the deadly blood cancer. But alongside his terrifying prognosis, the labourer's pals say he has faced “horrific” conditions at the government-run Vachira Phuket Hospital as he didn’t take out insurance.

Friends say there are puddles of blood on the floor, needles strewn on the ground and people dying just feet from him each day. The have begun a fundraising drive to bring him home. Dean’s best mate Ben Page, 42, who has been with him during his stay at the clinic said they’ll need to find roughly £10,000 to get him home.

Ben said: “It’s pretty horrendous, the conditions are so bad. There’s blood everywhere, there’s needles everywhere. The way I would explain it to people is it’s like The Gaza Strip, but without so much rubble. It feels like the ‘third world’. There’s blood all over Dean’s bed. There has been blood on the cover since he got there. There’s no toilet roll, you just wash with a hose.

“And the nurses have messed up so many times. They have pulled a needle out of him, and the blood just pours out. Three people have died next to him over the last three or four days and there are no curtains. The machines are on all night so he can’t sleep.”

Ben Page with his friend Dean (
Ben Page / SWNS)
Dean Penson is in hospital in Thailand (
Ben Page / SWNS)

Dean, from Southend-on-Sea, had originally flown out to Phuket for a few weeks break with a group of mates on November 6. Ben said he'd urged Dean to take out insurance before leaving, but he worried that he wouldn't get covered at a reasonable rate as he’d previously broken both his knees.

Dean began to fall unwell on about November 15 before his friends decided to rush him to a hospital near the bustling island’s old town. Doctors then discovered that he had an extremely low blood count, leading him to have around 20 transfusions over the next 10 days. Ben, who briefly returned to the UK before coming back to be with his friend, said they suspect he may have leukaemia.

He said: “He’s just got worse and worse, he’s really anaemic We’ve been best mates since we were 15. It was just horrendous to see him like this. He couldn’t see well out of his eyes because he had a haemorrhage behind them. That was causing him to bleed from them.

“His bloods are just so low, which could be leukaemia, but I’m not really sure. He’s had 18-20 bags of blood and platelets. His platelets are just totally depleted. But it’s just horrendous at the hospital. We wouldn’t treat an animal in a vets this way. At one point they smashed his bed against the wall, but he’s a high risk of brain haemorrhage. It’s been horrible seeing him like this.”

Dad of two Ben, who runs the Combat Charity Challenge business, said they were hopeful that Dean would be declared fit enough to fly over the next few days. But he said that he still faced a startling hospital bill when he returned home, with little hope of being able to pay it off.

He said: “The hospital has so far charged around £5,000. He’s obviously run up a bill here that he can’t afford to pay. And he’s going to have to go A&E when he gets back. They are just pumping him full of blood at the moment in the hope that we can bring him home.”