So I got asked to go and evaluate a patient for a medevac flight back to Cape Town. Basically I need to check him out, reach a decision on the level of care needed for the flight as well as any drugs and treatment the patient might need on the 3 hour flight from Windhoek to Cape Town.
On arrival at the hospitals ICU, I find the patient tubed with little to no response to stimulation of any sort. I find the wife standing there and start getting history from her. It seems they are here on holiday, and hubby collapsed complaining of severe chest pains. The ECG confirms an Anterior MI and the brain scans confirm a a CVA. They don't have medical aid, nor do they have medical insurance.
While I can not stress the need for this insurance enough to travellers, sadly these people did not think they would need it. In cases like this, the flight would probably cost in the region of R24 000.00 (don't quote me on it, I am taking a guess). They don't have the cash meaning there's no way we will be flying the patient back to his home town for further treatment and or to die close to the family.
This is when the wife informs me that she did approach the High Commission in Namibia and ask for assistance only to be told that they will "contribute $20 to the transportation". A man that's been working his whole life, paying tax his whole working career and this is how our wonderful government says thank you??????
If I can give a little bit of advice, if you have medical aid / insurance and will be travelling outside the borders of your home country, inform then so you can enjoy the benefits of coverage. If you don't have medical aid, contact a travel agent who will be able to assist with travel insurance, most of them aren't that expensive. At least you will have the peace of mind that should you have a medical emergency and need repatriation to your home country / town you will have it.
Fair enough these people should have taken that precaution, it still in my view does not excuse the "wonderful assistance" provided to South African citizens by the High Commission...... It's sad to say, this patient will probably die here, far from friends and family, in a strange country........