Heart problems, long term illnesses and complex fractures are among the most common medical ailments at the source of private repatriations, according to CEGA, with demand spanning areas as diverse as southern Asia, the Caribbean and mainland Europe. Among those requesting the repatriations are uninsured individuals; business travellers; government organisations and even royalty.
“The demand for medical repatriations is greatest from Europe, says “Cecilia Geofilo-Pearson, CEGA’s Business Development Manager, “but we are getting requests from all over the world - ranging from straightforward road journeys and scheduled flights with medical escorts, to intensive care air ambulance transfers that necessitate full medical management, complex travel arrangements and hospital admission.
“A repatriation involves much more than a journey,” adds Ms Geofilo-Pearson. “An individual injured or taken ill abroad should expect it to come hand-in-hand with, among other things, travel arrangements made for relatives, translation services and expert medical supervision from start to finish.”
Ms Geofilo-Pearson warns against using inexperienced repatriation providers that lack the backing of a multi-skilled team. “The welfare of the patient can be put at risk if providers don’t take the time to fully assess a patient’s needs, to organise exactly the right transport and care to meet those needs and to support them throughout the journey.” She cites a recent case involving a young man with a spinal injury whose attempted repatriation from the other side of the world was hampered by a provider who tried to organise transport that would have worsened his injury and whose doctor deserted him at the airport. CEGA was later asked to (successfully) take on the repatriation.
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