Home » The brother of the Bulgari Hotel chef injured in Beijing speaks: “He has come out of the coma, now I want to bring Daniele back to Italy”

The brother of the Bulgari Hotel chef injured in Beijing speaks: “He has come out of the coma, now I want to bring Daniele back to Italy”

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The brother of the Bulgari Hotel chef injured in Beijing speaks: “He has come out of the coma, now I want to bring Daniele back to Italy”

BEIJING – “Dani wanted me to come here to Beijing in the summer for holidays. I wanted to surprise him and go early: I wrote him a message telling him that I would be leaving on Saturday 13 January. He told me ‘bring your two little girls too and bring dad too’. But then we couldn’t reach an agreement and we didn’t speak again for two days. And just on the night of that Saturday my brother had the accident on his scooter. You see, it was a sign of destiny that I had to come here.” He has incredible strength Stefano Ferrari, the brother of Daniele, the chef of the Bulgari Hotel in Beijing who that cursed night, returning home after an evening with friends, had an accident with his scooter on a road near the Liangma river in the Chinese capital. Risking his life.

We meet Stefano, catapulted here for almost a month, in a city he doesn’t know and where he has had to navigate bureaucratic difficulties, meetings with the police, insurance procedures, hospital visits. Supported right from the start by the officials of our embassy here in Beijing. “They accompanied me throughout the entire journey, a very tough journey. A fundamental help. And then there were, and are, Dani’s friends, who gave me a great hand. Here in the Italian community they are all friends, they all know each other: if there is someone who has a problem everyone helps him. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s like a family. This unexpected event cost me my job, but he does nothing, we’ll think about that later. I will stay here with Dani until I bring him back to Italy.”

Embassy officials, from what we understand Republic, were among the first to arrive at the hospital, immediately taking action with all the procedures: calling the family, informing the Ministry in Rome, helping Daniele’s brother to renew his passport (which had expired), speaking with the local authorities to ask maximum assistance and ensure the best medical care for Daniele, and to understand the dynamics of the accident. Daniele was first taken to Chaoyang Hospital, an excellent but generalist hospital. As the days went by, more specific operations were needed and for this reason he was transferred to Unicare. The operations were successful but, unfortunately, infections developed from there. We were right in the transition from one month to the next, January 31st, and Daniele had to be transferred again urgently. From the next day, however, the insurance would no longer cover the expenses. The embassy took action to find the bed and in dialogue with the management of the Bulgari Hotel Beijing also for insurance aspects.

Stefano, let’s start immediately with the most important thing: how is your brother now?

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“Has improved. They just operated on his arm, the ulna and radius were split. The doctors said the operation was perfect. We had to operate immediately otherwise the bones would start to calcify and we were almost out of time. Ten days ago he underwent surgery on his jaw and cheekbones. And he finally woke up from the coma. It was a medically induced coma. He also has a colon infection that has also taken over his lungs. They originally gave us a 30% chance of survival. So we moved him to another hospital: within two days he began to improve more and more. And now he’s awake. Obviously he doesn’t speak because he had a tracheotomy. But I read his lips.”

Are there any other operations in sight?

“They have to close the tracheotomy. But until the infection passes they cannot close it permanently because if they have to intervene urgently they must then reopen. I go to the hospital every day. But I can only stay for half an hour. It is clear that he is in shock, he remembers nothing of the accident. He fell in the worst possible way.”

What happened that night?

“On January 13th he was out with some friends and while he was returning home on his scooter, apparently hitting a pothole, the handlebars turned and the knob stuck on his stomach. He hit his face forward on the windshield, breaking his jaw. And then his arm, falling to the ground. Help arrived after about an hour, another foreigner called them. Dani was sitting on the street, talking to this guy in English, so he was conscious. After they took him to the hospital they immediately notified the Bulgari Hotel Beijing, because he had his work visa with them. The hotel management immediately came to the hospital and contacted his best friend here in China, Alessandro, who was his emergency contact, and then they managed to get to me. I was out for dinner with some friends that evening. We had to leave immediately, but I didn’t have my passport because it had expired. And here the Italian embassy in Beijing was of great help because they managed to greatly speed up the process for me to leave: on Tuesday I was already on the plane”.

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Daniele’s friends here in China started a fundraiser in those days, because they feared that the insurance would not be able to cover the expenses. Now most medical expenses are covered.

“Daniele was changing jobs and when this happens you have to close your work visa and the insurance linked to your employer also ends. His friends here took immediate action because they didn’t know whether this insurance could be extended or not. The insurance expired on January 18th, then Bulgari Hotel Beijing extended it until the 31st. In the last few days we have had important meetings with the hotel, they took action with the insurance company to ensure that the coverage was extended again. This reassures us a lot and gives us a breather, we are very grateful. Currently most of the medical expenses have been covered by insurance. Fundraising remains a response to any expenses necessary for complete recovery and assistance in excess of insurance coverage. I want to say thank you, as well as to the management of the Bulgari Hotel Beijing and the Embassy for the important assistance provided, to the friends and community who have shown so much attention and solidarity to our Daniele”.

And what happens now?

“I’ll stay here with Dani until I bring him back to Italy. They don’t tell us the timing because they don’t yet know when he will be released from intensive care. At the beginning they told us two months minimum. Then after that there’s the whole recovery part. He must do an excellent rehabilitation because he works with his hands. And then we will have to work on the shock, there will be a psychological phase to deal with. In the most critical days, a fundraiser also started in Italy through the Community Foundation of Malnate, my municipality. So I also thank the Foundation which, with the patronage of the Municipality which I thank, immediately took action. Seeing how the community responded moved us. Fortunately today, thanks to the precious intervention of Bulgari Hotel Beijing, there are no emergencies to manage. We therefore asked the Foundation to stop collecting and return the sums. We may need to start other collections to cover emerging expenses for any form of assistance, I am also just thinking of the long rehabilitation process that Dani will have to follow upon his return. But he will therefore have to stay here for a while longer. For me, everything was complicated at the beginning, it is a country where even the most normal things like calling a taxi or ordering food at home are a bit difficult. The first few days I was completely lost. Even today all of this is difficult, even if I’m slowly getting used to it. I carry this burden, I am strong. And I want to bring my Dani home.”

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