Nigeria: Age 50+ male – 45-day business trip
This businessman sought advice via a local emergency helpline in Nigeria when suffering symptoms, was provided with a test by government medical services and admitted to hospital before getting in contact.
This was a challenging case as the treatment centre had a concerning level of care, but release to a more suitable private facility was not possible. The government had taken control of all Covid-19 cases, and private facilities were not accepting patients. Equally, the facility was not willing to release a patient without two negative Covid-19 tests, regardless of symptoms.
Concerns were raised by the patient, his employer and broker about the standard of care that was being provided. So, underwriters agreed to cover an evacuation flight on a Challenger air ambulance to bring the patient home.
After liaising with partners to arrange discharge – despite the patient still being Covid-19 positive – an air ambulance with a “pod system” to mitigate risk of further reinfection was provided. A larger Challenger aircraft was required because the smaller Learjet makes more fuel stops – and many of the airports which usually assist with technical stops were closed.
Brazil: Age 60+ male – long-term secondment
This patient, suffering from Covid-related symptoms, had taken himself to a local facility for treatment before contact was made.
However, given the strain that Covid-19 was placing on the medical system in Brazil, it became clear the facility was unable to provide appropriate care. So, a transfer to a more suitable treatment facility was arranged.
The patient remained in ICU for one month, including intubation, and at the time of writing the case remains on-going (06.07.2020). The good news, however, is that the process of coming off ventilation is underway.
The next logistical challenge will be repatriation once the patient is well enough to travel – and because of travel restrictions in Brazil, an air ambulance may be required.
Spain: Age 65+ male – 14-day holiday
In this case the treatment facility in Spain made contact in early March when the patient was first admitted.
He had a pre-medical history of lung cancer, which provided cause for concern, and a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis.
The patient was therefore admitted to ICU for three days and made positive progress with non-invasive oxygen saturation before being moved to a general Covid-19 ward.
In all he remained in medical care for a month before being deemed fit to travel via “medical escort on a commercial flight”.
Given the travel restrictions that were in place globally at the time, it was not feasible to arrange a commercial repatriation with a medical escort (especially as oxygen was required).
So, an air ambulance repatriation followed by admission into a UK facility on arrival was organised for him instead.