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True Stories of Emergency Medical Evacuations

Becky Hart | Feb 10, 2023

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Air lift ambulance.

You fall during a tour in China and break your leg. You get malaria while volunteering in Africa. You have bad luck and get kidney stones on your honeymoon in Southeast Asia.

It’s not fun to think about medical emergencies while traveling, and unfortunately, each of the scenarios above are true stories about Seven Corners customers. Fortunately, each of those customers was able to rely on Seven Corners for their care and emergency medical evacuation.

What exactly is an emergency medical evacuation, and how can Seven Corners help? Check out these stats and stories.

Emergency Medical Evacuation Benefits

Ambulance speeding to destination.

Seven Corners Travel Medical Insurance provides coverage if you become sick or hurt while traveling. This includes emergency medical evacuation and repatriation benefits. If appropriate medical care is not available in your location, Seven Corners will pay to transport you to an area with the care you need.

Seven Corners must arrange the evacuation or repatriation for you. The benefit and travel assistance, working together, can save you money — an evacuation could cost you $500 to $200,000 if you were paying for it out of pocket — and reduce the anxiety of arranging care and transportation yourself in another country.

What's the difference between emergency medical evacuations and repatriations?

With an emergency medical evacuation, you’re transported from one facility to another where you’ll have access to necessary treatment. The second facility with appropriate care may be in the same or another country.

With repatriation, you’re transported from a foreign country to your home country where you can receive additional treatment or recover.

Evacuation Statistics & Stories: 2022

Where do emergency medical evacuations happen?

Seven Corners helps travelers all over the world find the medical care they need, and that includes evacuating people from places where they cannot receive adequate medical care for their ailment. Sometimes we evacuate people from less populated areas. You might be surprised, though, how many evacuations and repatriations start in highly populated areas you’d normally expect to have high levels of medical care.

Through the first 10 months of 2022, we’ve arranged more evacuations and repatriations from Thailand than from any other country. As a whole, Southeast Asia is a region from which we receive many assistance calls.

Daniel and Felipe know first-hand what that’s like. Watch how this couple called on Seven Corners when their trip to Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand, was disrupted by a severe stomach illness caused by bacteria.

The evacuation that covered the most distance in 2022 started in Indonesia, more than 9,400 miles from the Seven Corners headquarters in Indiana.

In this instance, a customer was traveling with a friend in a remote region of Indonesia when she was struck by a car and broke her leg. The local hospital gave her a wooden splint, and she was discharged back to her hotel. The customer quickly lost feeling in her leg. That’s when she contacted Seven Corners for help getting to an adequate facility on the mainland.

Due to the severity of her injury, she required immediate treatment. We arranged for a doctor to treat her in her hotel room while a helicopter transfer was being arranged. The doctor provided IV medication, prepped her leg for transfer, and ensured her vitals were stable. The customer was then airlifted to a hospital with an orthopedic surgeon where she underwent immediate surgery.

Seven Corners provided a guarantee of payment, essentially a promise from the insurer to the medical facility that it will receive payment for providing care. In some countries, it’s necessary to provide either a guarantee from the insurance company or upfront payment from the patient in order to receive treatment. Having travel insurance that can provide a guarantee of payment goes a long way toward reducing your stress when you’re sick or hurt abroad.

In the end, Seven Corners arranged for the customer’s repatriation home once she was stable enough to fly, giving this traveler a happier ending than she might have otherwise had.

As we said earlier, though, evacuation and repatriation aren’t only necessary in less populated areas. Some cases are in highly traveled destinations.

Makenzie found herself in that situation when traveling in Europe. Watch how this solo woman traveler and her family relied on Seven Corners to find and bring her home when she became ill in France.

Another customer was vacationing with his family in Ireland when he fell unconscious. He was diagnosed with low levels of sodium, but the reason for this was unknown, and he was admitted to a local hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for stabilization.

The customer began to improve within a couple of days, and a nurse medical escort was recommended for his safe return home. Seven Corners made arrangements for his repatriation, but the customer’s condition declined, and he became unresponsive again.

Seven Corners’ medical directors communicated directly with the treating doctor in Ireland about the customer's treatment plan and repatriation. After 10 days, the customer had stabilized again and was cleared to travel home with his family's assistance where he received ongoing treatment.

How often are travelers evacuated?

Evacuations and repatriations aren’t common (although they can be very expensive and cause quite a bit of stress, which are just two reasons having this coverage is so beneficial).

Seven Corners has assisted with more emergency medical evacuations and repatriations through October 2022 than we did in all of 2021. With a few months of travel remaining, the number of evacuations and repatriations has increased nearly 29%.

We assist with more evacuations and repatriations in July than any other month. With summer being a busy time for travel, that's not unusual or surprising. Summer is also our busiest season for claims.

What are the most common reasons for medical evacuations?

We assist with emergency medical evacuations if it’s determined that your destination is unable to provide medically necessary treatment. In 2022, the most common reasons for evacuations were broken bones, COVID-related illness, and appendicitis.

Interestingly, this has changed over the years. The most common reasons for evacuations in 2017, for example, were altitude sickness, dengue fever, and broken bones.

Seven Corners Assist

Emergency medical evacuations and repatriations are arranged by the Seven Corners Assist team as part of our 24/7 travel assistance services. All customers, regardless of the plan they purchase, have access to these assistance services.

What assistance services does Seven Corners provide?

Seven Corners Assist provides medical and travel assistance, something we’ve been doing for 30 years. Medical assistance includes services such as medical bill payment guarantees, help locating medical care, medical record translations, medical escorts, and more in addition to emergency medical evacuation and medical repatriation.

Travel assistance services include political and natural disaster evacuations (when applicable for your plan), embassy contact information, currency rates, inoculation and visa information, interpreter referrals, and more.

If you need medical assistance during your trip, you can contact Seven Corners Assist by phone, text, or WhatsApp.

  • Toll free: 1-800-335-0611
  • Worldwide: 1-317-575-2652
  • Collect: 1-317-818-2809
  • Text: +1-888-655-1402*
  • WhatsApp: +1-317-430-1140*

*By sending a text to this number, you are opting in to receive messages from Seven Corners. You can text STOP at any time to stop receiving messages.

Travel Insurance with Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage

To find out more about Seven Corners travel insurance, plan benefits, and travel assistance services, contact our licensed agents or get a quick quote online.

You can also visit our blog to learn more about how travel medical insurance can help on your next international trip.

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