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Australian man fights for life in Vietnam after moving for 'fresh start'

An Australian entrepreneur moved overseas for a “fresh start”, but a major accident changed everything and left him in a coma.

Jean Paul ‘JP’ Lena decided to make the move to Vietnam a few months after his mother unexpectedly died in 2018.

According to a GoFundMe set up to assist the family, Mr Lena went in with “all guns blazing”.

He worked hard and invested all his money, with the help of a local girl, Angel, and eventually he opened his own restaurant and bar on Phu Quoc Island.

Australian restaurateur Jean Paul Lena is in a coma in Vietnam after a scooter accident.
Jean Paul Lena, an Australian entrepreneur, is in a coma in Vietnam following a scooter accident. Source: GoFundMe.

The restaurant opened just before Christmas 2018 and JP closed up for six months over the wet season, pursuing other projects with a steady cash-flow.

One project led Mr Lena to Ho Chi Minh City for a couple of weeks in September.

“JP was on his scooter going to a meeting when disaster struck,” the GoFundMe page said.

“He had a major accident. We still don’t know the details or what actually happened without any witnesses. We have no other information about the accident except the very sad outcome he now finds himself in.”

Since the accident, Mr Lena has been in a coma, with serious brain injuries.

His father, Rino, has travelled to be with him and Angel is also visiting him in hospital.

The GoFundMe was set up to help get Mr Lena transported home to Australia.

Jean Paul Lena (pictured left with another man) moved to Vietnam for a 'fresh start' after his mother died in 2018.
Mr Lena (left) moved to Vietnam for a 'fresh start' after his mother died in 2018. Source: Go Fund Me.

“Unfortunately, JP is currently in a public hospital in Hoi Chi Minh City, Vietnam. These hospitals do not provide the expertise, care or support that we are used to here in Australia,” the fundraiser said.

“You are only allowed one visitor per day for a maximum of one hour – so his own father can’t even stay by his side during this difficult time.

“If you do get to see a doctor, well that’s great, if you don’t, then that’s bad luck. Even more bad luck if you don’t speak the language.”

The GoFundMe explains Mr Lena wasn’t covered by insurance as he was a resident of Vietnam and the cost for the family to transport him back to Sydney was “incredibly expensive”.

“To his many friends, please dig deep and help bring our mate home,” the fundraiser said.

The page was set up on September 20 and more than $64,000 had already been raised at the time of publication.

The organiser of the event relayed an update on September 22 from the family, saying Mr Lena had been moved to a “much better hospital”, where he was getting “more specialised care”.

However, he still remains in a coma and the family is waiting to see whether he is allowed it be flown home.

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