A Solihull pensioner has been warned he could have his passport confiscated and be thrown into an Egyptian jail following his insurance company's refusal to pay out on medical bills.
Tony Allen, aged 68, from Shirley, Solihull, was on a diving holiday when he contracted decompression sickness, commonly known as the bends.
Lloyds TSB Insurance has refused to pay out the insurance premium as he is treated in a recompression chamber in an Egyptian hospital in Marsa Alam, at a cost of £2,000 a day in medical bills.
Mr Allen's sons, Mark and Chris, had not told their father that his insurance company had refused to pay out because doctors had warned it could compromise his condition.
But on Friday night Lloyds' medical sub-contractors revealed to him that they would not pay.
Mark Allen said he was furious and that his father was "devastated".
He said: "We were really, really angry. When we spoke to Lloyds we were adamant that the doctors had told us not to inform my dad because to stress him out or get him worked up because his treatment is based on his physiology.
"The insurance company and its medical advisors knew that and we told them not to discuss whether or not they were going to pay with him. My father is stuck in hospital so there is nothing he can do about it anyway.
"What on earth did they have to gain from telling him? When I spoke to him on Friday he was very distressed."
Mr Allen added that the family had been warned that their father could have his passport confiscated or end up in jail if the bill isn't paid.
Mr Allen's MP, Lorely Burt, has been supporting the family in England throughout their ordeal.
"Yesterday the underwriters assured me they would give sympathetic consideration to Mr Allen's case," said Mrs Burt, "but they have decided they will not pay up on medical bills which may reach as much as £40,000.
" The medical report showed that dehydration had been a major factor in Mr Allen's decompression sickness. I understand this could have occurred when diving at any level. I am deeply disappointed they have decided to stick to the wording of the small print to justify not helping this family."
Mr Allen negated the terms of his insurance policy by diving lower than the specified 30 metres in the small print. "The dive manifest showed that nearly half the other divers in the group dived at least as deep as Mr Allen with no ill effects," said Mrs Burt. "This would indicate that dehydration, not depth was a significant factor in his sickness.
"This should serve as a lesson to anyone contemplating any potentially hazardous sporting activity - check the small print of your policy before you do anything."
* Mr Allen's family have launched an appeal to help fund his treatment. Donations can be made to Mark Allen, re Anthony Allen Fund, at HSBC, sort code: 404335, account number: 21439138 or mallen1012 @hotmail.com.