Friday, May 27, 2011

A Story of the Importance of MedEvac Coverage...

For the past years, I have been booking clients all over the world for fishing and have always recommended that clients elect, at a minimum, a “MedEvac” policy while traveling and fishing. As with all outdoor recreation, there are always potential risks of travel, being around water, transporting in boats, float planes, etc, and just being in the great outdoors. Another fact is that, while fly fishing takes us to some of the most beautiful and remote locales on earth, this pursuit also brings us to regions where there are often limited medical services and facilities, if at all. It is for these reasons that I have a medical evacuation policy with Global Rescue - a few hundred dollars goes a long way for peace of mind while traveling and fishing around the globe.

Well, this truth was never more apparent than last week while on the remote island of South Caicos in the Caribbean. I feel the need to share this event in hopes that you will evaluate your own future fishing adventures and realize that you “need” this coverage if you fish abroad and/or in remote regions. The story begins…

My group and I had already spent a wonderful week wading the flats for Bonefish at South Caicos. On the last morning before fishing, father Bob and son Dave were in their room getting dressed and ready for the day of fishing. Dave told his father that he was going down to the kitchen to get some coffee for them. Upon returning to the room, he noticed that Bob was standing at the foot of his bed with a blank look on his face… Dave immediately knew something was wrong. I was immediately notified, went up to their room, and Dave said that his father might have just had a stroke.

Being the agent/host of the trip, I knew that Bob had secured Global Rescue coverage and asked for his membership card. I immediately called Global Rescue and they took command of the situation from there. When the island doctor and ambulance arrived, we transported Bob to the island’s only medical clinic. It was a basic clinic with limited facilities and no specialized equipment to care for a serious medical condition such as this. While there, Global Rescue coordinated a phone conference between the island doctor and Global Rescue’s medical consulting team at John Hopkins Hospital – they diagnosed that he indeed had a stroke. They assessed his condition and confirmed an urgent status requiring the need for Global Rescue to deploy their medical team in a medical jet. While they were assembling their medical flight team, Global Rescue began communications with us to confirm passport numbers and the flight plan for arrival on South Caicos.

Within a few hours, we were notified that the jet was on approach to South Caicos and we transported Bob and Dave to the South Caicos airport to meet the jet. Never in my life have I been so happy to see a jet on an airstrip – help had arrived. After receiving approval of their return flight plan, the medical jet transported Bob and Dave to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Bob was admitted to one of the nation’s top medical clinics. He stayed there for 4 days while the clinic conducted the necessary scans and stabilized his condition. His condition improved during his stay and was cleared for transfer home to a hospital in Sacramento, CA for continued care.

Amazingly, Global Rescue’s care and service continued all the way back to Sacramento. Global Rescue booked Bob a first class seat on a commercial airline and escorted him with their flight nurse to monitor and care for him during the return flight to Sacramento. To summarize, Bob remained under the care of Global Rescue from the airstrip on South Caicos, to Ft. Lauderdale for intermediary medical care, and all the way back home to Sacramento where he was finally admitted to a hospital for further care.

Today, I spent time visiting with Bob and his family at the hospital. Bob was in good spirits and, thankfully, his condition continues to improve each day. He and his family are very thankful for the service and care that Global Rescue provided.

On my flight home from South Caicos, I had the chance to reflect on the events that occurred that morning. In my mind, I tried to run through the various scenarios of not having Global Rescue in this incident… it was a confusing, complex, and downright scary picture. What I realized is that securing medical evacuation coverage gives one peace of mind and, most importantly, the feeling that “help is on the way” when an incident occurs. Nothing was more hopeful and comforting in this situation than this feeling - “help is on the way.”

Also during my in-flight mental evaluation of this incident, I thought of some important pre-trip preparations that travelers should complete before commencing travel on any trip. Once you have secured Global Rescue coverage, here are some highlighted points that will help facilitate evacuation and proper medical response if needed:
  • Notify Global Rescue of your future travel plans (destination, itinerary, purpose, etc.)
  • Ensure that there is a reliable means of communication on the trip (international cell phone [GSM or CDMA], SAT phone, land line, etc.)
  • Keep a current list of medications and medical history along with your Global Rescue card; I recommend writing this information on a sticky note and sealing it on the back of your Global Rescue card.
  • Appoint a “buddy” (or host) for the trip who knows the whereabouts or has a copy of your Global Rescue card, emergency contact, and medical information (medical history, medications, etc.); the scenario is if you should become unconscious, somebody on your trip knows the whereabouts of your information and can communicate your medical information to the Global Rescue agent and medical team.
  • Leave your trip itinerary, medical history / medication list, and Global Rescue number with your emergency contact(s) back at home.

In final, I hope that this story will encourage you to evaluate your own future vacation travels and realize that Global Rescue coverage is essential. It can give you peace of mind and serve you in times of medical need while traveling abroad and/or in remote regions. Being a first responder in this incident and witnessing Global Rescue perform at the highest level of professionalism confirmed my confidence in their coverage and service.

I wish you safe travels while Angling On The Fly.

Keith Kaneko

Angling On The Fly

For more information, please feel free to email me at or visit the Global Rescue website