While there’s no good time or place for a medical emergency, there are some times and places that make dealing with a health emergency more challenging. A prime example: When you’re traveling or living abroad.
That was the case for a 19-year-old woman* who was living and working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, when she was in a serious car accident. With several fractures and possible internal injuries, she was quickly evaluated for evacuation.
When you’re far from home in a situation like that one, it’s nice to know you have a team on your side. Aetna’s International Health Advisory Team (IHAT) – a team of highly experienced doctors and nurses — can be your best travel companion, and available for members around the clock
Aetna’s evacuation partner consulted with the treating doctor. Together, they decided that the woman needed immediate evacuation to Bangkok with a full medical team. Aetna quickly provided a guarantee of payment for her medical care there. Jennifer Pan, a case manager in Shanghai for Aetna’s IHAT, got after-hours landing permits in Bangkok.
“I was in constant contact with her parents in Canada, her employer and the medical team,” Pan said. “When her parents decided to fly to Bangkok, I was able to find them an affordable hotel near the hospital so they could support their daughter’s recovery.”
Once the young woman was out of danger, Aetna flew her back to Cambodia to recover. Aetna sent her father along, as well. The parents were grateful for the help. “Thank you very much for the superior level of assistance that you have provided our daughter,” they said. “You and the rest of the team have been so helpful every step of the way.”
Overseas care for children
It can be scary news for parents to learn that a child is seriously ill, and even scarier when there’s no specialist nearby to provide treatment. That was the case for the parents of an 18-month-old toddler* who developed a suspicious limp while he was living with his parents on assignment in Kuwait.
The local doctor suspected a tumor, and with no pediatric oncologists available nearby, his parents were advised to seek treatment in the United Kingdom (U.K.). However, the cost of treatment in the U.K. was above the reasonable and customary cost for the region. Without timely intervention, the family would have had to pay the difference. That’s when IHAT physician Sanober Sheikh stepped in.
“We knew we had to act quickly to both coordinate this young boy’s care and guarantee payment,” Dr. Sheikh said. “We got the head of International Care Management to sign off on the additional costs and coordinated a further diagnosis. That was critical for a successful outcome.”
The IHAT team provided emotional support, as well. Team members reached out to the family during treatment in the U.K. and after they returned to Kuwait. Recently, the family told Dr. Sheikh that their son is finishing up his chemotherapy and is a highly active toddler.
The parents appreciated how Dr. Sheikh and the IHAT team are working to build a healthier world. “We raise our hats for your prompt action and coordination,” they said.
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*Editor’s note: Names withheld.