Travel insurers have been accused of " heartlessly" exploiting a loophole by refusing to cover up to #40,000 in medical fees for a British scuba diver with decompression sickness.
Lloyds TSB insurance said Anthony Allen, aged 68, from Shirley in Solihull, was not covered, claiming his dive at Marsa Alam resort in Egypt on Monday was deeper than the 30-metre limit stipulated in its policy.
The firm is refusing to shift from its position despite a medical report from Egyptian doctors which says Mr Allen's 'type two bends' - the worst kind - was caused by dehydration and was nothing to do with the depth to which he dived, Mr Allen's son Mark said yesterday.
Mr Allen is receiving costly treatment at an Egyptian hospital in Marsa Shagra. Medics say the retired factory manager now needs up to three weeks of recompression treatment, six hours a day, costing #344 an hour.
His sons Mark and Chris, have not informed their father about the problem with his insurance company on medical advice because stress impedes recovery from the bends.
Mark Allen, a marketing analyst, said he was angry and frustrated.
"No leeway, no tolerance, no compassion, I just find them heartless," he said. "They have found a loophole and they are going to exploit it."
It is not yet known whether Mr Allen, a highly experienced diver, went deeper than 30 metres because he was already suffering the effects of the bends brought on by his dehydration, Mark said.
He added: "We're still trying to find out what happened during the dive but we understand he was disorientated on the way down.
"My biggest frustration is that the insurance firm has done little or nothing to actively investigate this case.
"I'm doing all the digging, not them. My father has been with Lloyds for as long as I can remember. I remember the little horse on his cheque book from when I was a child."
Mark said he had arranged a meeting with a loss adjuster to plan a possible case for renegotiating with the insurers.
He said his family would be ruined if they are unsuccessful.
LloydsTSB said in a statement: "The terms and conditions of Mr Allen's policy exclude cover for scuba diving beyond a depth of 30 metres. This is a common exclusion in travel insurance policies.
"We also have confirmation from doctors treating him that his illness is directly related to him participating in a dive to that depth."