Travel Team | Jun 22, 2023
What do you do if you get sick while traveling abroad? What if the illness is serious and you can’t get home?
Those are the questions Alysan asked when she started having intense headaches while traveling in Ghana. It was a scary situation, but Alysan had travel medical insurance from Seven Corners to help her through it. This is her story.
As a premedical student pursuing a biochemistry degree, Alysan traveled to Ghana to work in a hospital. Her family had traveled extensively, so Alysan’s mom, Susan, was excited about her daughter’s decision to study abroad.
Ghana, however, was different from anywhere they’d been before. Susan had some reservations about sending her college-aged child to western Africa. That’s why, despite having never purchased it before, they bought travel insurance.
Near the end of Alysan’s trip, things started to go wrong.
Susan remembered: “About a week before she was supposed to come home, she had called and said, ‘Mom, I have a really bad headache. I can’t see very well, I’m disoriented.’”
Susan advised Alysan to go to the doctor, but Alysan said she preferred to just come home and seek treatment there. When her condition worsened, she did go to a hospital in Ghana where she was diagnosed with malaria.
Malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites. Early symptoms like Alysan’s — fever, chills, headaches — are hard to identify as signs of malaria. The disease is preventable and curable, but when left undiagnosed or untreated, it is also life-threatening. Ghana in particular has some of the highest rates of malarial infection and accounts for about 2% of the world’s malaria deaths.
Alysan’s prognosis was a tense one. The airlines wouldn’t let her fly home on a commercial flight until she was declared well again, and a South African friend of the family’s was honest with Susan, saying, “by the time you get there, either Aly will be dead or Aly will be getting better. That’s how malaria works.”
At a loss for what to do next, knowing her daughter was suffering and unable to bring her home, Susan called Seven Corners. Seven Corners obtained the treatment Alysan needed, and when she was well enough to fly, arranged safe transportation home for her.
“When I got to the airport (in Ghana), they automatically had a wheelchair there for me,” said Alysan. “From there I went to Amsterdam, and then I flew from Amsterdam right to Minnesota.
“I don’t know what I would have done without Seven Corners insurance. They got me home safe, and they got me to be with my family again.”
Back in the U.S., Alysan recovered from her illness and resumed her medical studies.
“I think Seven Corners made the difference between Aly coming home and Aly not coming home,” said Susan. "I don’t think we’ll ever travel without it (travel insurance) again.”
Alysan’s travel medical insurance helped to get her home safely, and Seven Corners’ 24/7 travel assistance services supported her family throughout the ordeal. The right coverage for your next international trip can provide valuable protection if you get sick or hurt while traveling as well as peace of mind.