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Emergency medical evacuation helps brain stroke Indian in Thailand

Manish was far too young to be struck by a brain stroke. Yet there he was, an Indian citizen working in Bangkok away from his family, when the unexpected happened.

When statistics hit home

Manish’s brother-in-law, Ashutosh, will never forget that fateful call telling him that his relative was in the hospital in a semi-comatose condition.

“They say millions of people across the globe suffer a stroke every year — but those statistics are mere numbers for you until the misfortune knocks on your own door,” says Ashutosh.

He recalls feeling “frozen” by the astounding news. Then the questions came fast and furious. What? Who? How? He had to quickly adapt from trying to understand the situation to figuring out the logistics of obtaining visas and travelling on a moment’s notice.

Being their voice

Manish’s father in law and mother hopped on a plane to Thailand, still reeling from the shock. When they arrived at the hospital, they received the heartbreaking news that Manish was still not fully conscious, and his prognosis was uncertain.

After a few days of getting settled into an unfamiliar place, they realized that the costs for his care would eventually need to be paid. Yet they had no idea how much they would be, what his international health plan would cover and how the charges would be taken care of.

And they were extremely concerned that cultural, language and medical barriers might prevent them from making effective decisions on his care.

A single point of caring

As an Aetna International member with expat health insurance, Manish’s family was able to get in touch with the organisation’s Care and Response Excellence (CARE) team, who support members with everything from medical emergency response to treatment authorisation. The family members turned to Dr. Sanober Sheikh, the Aetna International CARE team clinician who became their single point of contact from beginning to end.

She was Manish’s supportive liaison, explaining his condition and plan of care to the family. The family also asked Sanober to discuss Manish’s needs and insurance cover with hospital medical and billing staff. She was also able to connect his family with local resources during their stay in unfamiliar territory.

“We would have been nowhere had it not been for Dr. Sanober and Aetna’s support,” Ashutosh says. “Her assurance that expenses were not going to be an issue was a huge relief because it meant we could completely focus on him and his care. And it wasn’t just about the expenses; it was her opinions on small and big issues that mattered as well.”

Full-circle support

When the family returned with Manish to India, they say the transition was completely smooth, with no onerous paperwork or complications. They were given all the information they needed to continue his treatment in Pune.

Today — nearly eight months after his life-changing stroke — Manish is fully out of his coma and doing well, though he still has quite a journey ahead in his recovery.

“Throughout those long months, having Dr. Sanober by our side took a lot of weight off our family so that we could give our entire attention to Manish,” says Ashutosh. “For everything she said and did in those darkest of times, I simply cannot thank her enough.”

As our member, if you or a family member needs health and wellness support, just contact us by calling the number on the back of your Member ID Card — it’s what we’re here for. If you’d like to learn more about our health and wellness services for expats, get in touch with one of our expert consultants.

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