Medical evacuation of an elderly tourist from the Falkland Islands to Chile

Providing medical assistance in the Falkland Islands turns even the simplest of cases into a complex case, due to the remote geographical location, and the limited options for medical care, and commercial flights.

Our assistance centre received a call from a cruise line to provide immediate medical assistance for an elderly tourist who became sick while onboard. The patient was met at the ship by an ambulance, and taken to the islands only hospital in Port Stanley.

The insurer for the cruise line had requested an immediate medical report, and due to the high costs of medical care in the Falkland Islands, they wanted to know if it was viable to transfer the patient to Chile.

The elderly tourist had suffered a stroke, and as a result had fallen, fracturing his cheek bone, and displacing two ribs, causing massive bruising. He was immediately treated at the hospital with medication for the stroke, and pain-killers for the fractures, bruising and swelling.

After a few days of observation, the treating medical officer agreed to sign a 'fit-to-fly' letter, and our team conducted a medical evacuation, via a 45-minute commercial flight, from the Falkland Islands, to a Traveller Assist network hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile.

The patient remained in hospital for 27-days, and was then able to speak, but required further rehabilitation to be able to walk again, and to improve the use of his left hand due to the stroke. The bruising had also improved on his face and torso.

The insurer requested a 28-day review of the case, and the decision was made to fly the patient home to Tasmania, Australia.

Our case managers obtained a 'fit-to-fly' letter from the treating medical officer, and completed the required documentation, and a Traveller Assist flight nurse provided a medical repatriation home with the patient via commercial flights from Punta Arenas, Chile via Santiago to Tasmania, Australia.

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