The term ‘medical repatriation’ sounds quite clinical, but behind every transport there is a different story, and behind those stories there are real people. As we, at EMS get to know the people we help and learn about their stories, our job becomes personal – every time. This Repatriation Story involving a transport by medical escort is one of many we could share.
Location: Torrevieja, Spain – Destination: Dublin, Ireland – Distance: 1096 miles, Time: 7h15min
Dora and her daughter Cait (not their real names) were enjoying a summer holiday on the Costa Blanca in Spain when Dora unexpectedly suffered a stroke that left the right side of her body paralysed. She was taken to a local hospital in Torrevieja who treated her condition with Aspirin. Concerned by the lack of care her mother was receiving, Cait wanted to bring her back to Ireland, but she didn’t know how. A cousin put her in touch with EMS 24-7. By this time over a week had gone by.
When someone suffers a stroke, it is possible for them to fly as soon as five or six days later. Unfortunately, Dora’s family were not made aware of this and precious time was lost. It generally takes the EMS team no more than 24 hours to reach a patient and start the repatriation in situations like Dora’s.
When the EMS team arrived at the hospital in Torrevieja, Dora struggled to speak. She could understand what people were saying, but could only reply with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But what was very important, she was able to sit upright in a wheelchair! This meant the EMS team were able to bring Dora home on a commercial flight.
Medical Escort repatriations with EMS are almost always a bed-to-bed service. This was true in Dora’s case as well and EMS arranged an ambulance transfer for her, to help save her strength and limit the time she had to sit upright in a wheelchair. They also made arrangements for her discharge from the hospital in Spain, dealing with all the paperwork, and secured a bed for her in a hospital in Dublin.
After examining Dora and preparing her for travel, the EMS team took her from the hospital to the airport in the ambulance. Accompanied by an advanced paramedic she travelled home on a commercial flight in business class. The comfortable lie-flat seats in business class allowed her to lie down and rest between take off and landing.
Once the plane arrived in Ireland, the EMS team escorted her safely to the hospital in Dublin where they took care of her admission and made sure she was settled and the handover was complete. In the hospital in Dublin Dora was able to have further treatment and physical therapy.
Because Dora was able to travel on a commercial flight with a medical escort, her repatriation from Torrevieja to Dublin only took 8 hours. She was brought home within 2 days after her family engaged EMS.
“Although cases like Dora’s might not seem urgent, we know from experience that time is essential when it comes to achieving the best results in rehabilitation. We were glad we were able to help Dora get home, where she could start to receive the right treatment and therapy to help her recovery.” – EMS Team
If you find yourself in a medical situation abroad and want to return home, please don’t hesitate to contact us – even if it’s just to talk through what’s possible. We are here to help.