The family of a British dad bitten by a snake in India while battling coronavirus have said his health has been “touch and go” after he was left suffering from blindness and paralysis.
Ian Jones, 49, is in intensive care after being bitten by a black king cobra in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, in the north west of the country, his family said.
While they hope his condition is temporary and he is stable at the moment, things have been “touch and go”.
Jones, a former healthcare worker who lives on the Isle of Wight with his family, runs a charity-backed social enterprise called Sabirian, aimed at helping people out of poverty.
Despite already suffering malaria, dengue fever and coronavirus, he was determined to stay in the country but has now been hospitalised after being bitten twice by the snake.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Community Action Isle of Wight, which owns Sabirian, to raise funds to cover his medical costs and transport home eventually, with nearly £4,000 raised in less than 24 hours.
Jones’ son Seb described his dad as a “fighter”, saying his father had “remained resolute in his determination to stay in the country and continue his work to help the people that needed his support”.
He said: “He had not been able to travel home due to the pandemic and as a family we understood his desire to continue to support the many people who relied on him.
“We were naturally concerned about him though and then when we heard he had also suffered what is usually a fatal snakebite on top of all that he had been through, we honestly could not believe it.
He added: “It really has been touch and go, he is stable at the moment although he has paralysis in his legs and blindness, both of which we hope is temporary, but it is clear he is going to need to remain in hospital out there for some time to come.
“We are extremely grateful to his colleagues there who have been brilliant and rallied around him in his time of need, as indeed he did for them.”
The snake was subsequently captured and released in a safe place.
Mike Bulpitt, of Community Action Isle of Wight, said: “Ian has put so much on the line to continue to support the people out in India that he works with, living in difficult conditions and being away from his own family and friends on the island for most of the year.
“He is now facing a long road to recovery and we are appealing for any fundraising support people can give to help us meet his medical costs, until he can eventually be brought home.
“We hope that he will soon be able to get back to the work he loves and to supporting those that need him, but right now he needs all our help to get through this battle to survive.”
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