While vacationing, medical evacuation is the furthest thing from most of our minds, but if you don’t take simple steps to mitigate the risk, you could be in for a shock. Here is the true case of my son, who at the age of four months, required life saving medical evacuation from Ho Chi Minh City, VN to Bangkok, Thailand.
It was the year Protected content , and our family was living in HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) at the time, and I was working with International SOS, the world’s largest medical and travel security assistance company. Our nanny had accidentally given our son, a purple root vegetable that when ingested can be toxic, because it depletes the supply of oxygen to red blood cells, causing one to choke from within and the afflicted to turn blue.
I was downstairs in my house when my wife frantically screamed that our son had turned blue and was gasping for air. We rushed out the door, frantically looking for a taxi and managed to catch one to the International SOS clinic, but the doctor on duty wasn’t able to diagnose the problem. His hunch that this was an allergic reaction to a vegetable paid off, and he promptly called one of his Vietnamese colleagues at Children’s Hospital #1, the largest teaching hospital in HCMC. Once we arrived, the doctors swiftly diagnosed the problem and gave our son the antidote, which thankfully worked quickly. Next we were told that there was no bed for our son, and we could all wait outside in the Protected content heat. My employer, International SOS promptly and thankfully, arranged for a medical evacuation to Bangkok and Bumrungrad Hospital, a center of excellence in the region.
My wife, son, and I boarded a charter medevac flight about seven hours later, with International SOS managing the bed-to-bed transfer and medical supervision. We stayed in Bangkok for the next four days until International SOS and Bumrungrad were comfortable with releasing our son from the hospital. Having great medical insurance in place averted a situation that could have quickly gone bad to worse from both a medical and financial standpoint, it were not for my medical insurance policy, which included payment for medical evacuation service. In fact medical evacuation costs can greatly exceed $50,000, so it's best to travel smart and be protected. There are many good insurance plans out there, but here are some recommended options:
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