Travel Team | Nov 28, 2022
What happens if you’re traveling alone and become sick? In another country? And you don’t speak the same language as the doctors and nurses? This story has the ingredients of what could be a very bad outcome. Fortunately, travel insurance can help. And it did when Makenzie found herself in this very situation.
We can’t think of a better way to celebrate your college graduation than a trip to Europe with a close friend. That’s exactly what 22-year-old Makenzie did. Toward the end of the trip, however, the two friends decided to go separate ways, and Makenzie continued on as a solo traveler.
Makenzie’s mom, Leanne, remembers this part of the trip well. “I had been talking with Makenzie every few days saying, ‘Where are you today?’ as a mom would do. She had called me saying she was leaving Brussels and going to London because she wanted to travel on her own, but she didn’t feel that well.”
On the last leg of her journey, Makenzie suddenly began feeling extremely ill. She was worried, but after a night’s sleep and a shower, her symptoms of fever, chills, and painful gas subsided. Chalking it up to the Brazilian food she’d had the day before, Makenzie boarded her bus as planned, thinking the worst was over.
Three hours into the ride, however, Makenzie’s symptoms began to resurface with greater intensity. When the bus arrived at the border of France and Belgium, Makenzie asked the bus driver and border guards for help, explaining she needed to go to the hospital. They promptly called an ambulance, and she was whisked away to the nearest hospital.
At the hospital, Makenzie struggled to communicate with the doctors and nurses. The language barrier was very stressful, and both sides relied on Google Translate to communicate. It was through those means that she was diagnosed with a gastroenteritis infection. The medical team gave her three different pills and antibiotics, pain meds for the stomach discomfort, and an IV.
Unfortunately, Makenzie wasn’t entirely sure where she was, having made the unplanned stop at the border. She called her mother as soon as she could, and Leanne contacted Seven Corners. That’s when a member of our 24/7 in-house travel assistance team, went to work.
“Seven Corners said, ‘You know what, we will handle this. We will find her. We will take care of this,’” remembered Leanne. “For 24, 36 hours we were trying to get hold of Makenzie, and Seven Corners finally calls me back and says, ‘Hey we found her, we’ve spoken with the doctors.’”
The team was in constant contact with Makenzie, her parents, and the hospital to keep everyone up to date on what was happening. We then arranged for Makenzie’s mother to fly to France and reunite with her daughter.
Makenzie’s travel medical insurance plan included the Emergency Family Reunion benefit, which allows a family member of your choice to be flown to your bedside should you be hospitalized and require a medical evacuation.
“They had me on the flight, I believe that afternoon or evening,” said Leanne. “Then a driver met me at the airport and drove me two-and-a-half hours to Calais. He actually walked me up to her hospital room where there was this great reunion.”
After seven days, Makenzie was released from the hospital. “They discharged me from the hospital on Friday, Sept. 25,” said Makenzie. “The next day, they were like, ‘Do you want to fly out on Saturday, or do you want to fly out on Sunday and maybe get a day to rest?’ Since I wasn’t sure how my symptoms were going to go afterward, I wanted to get a day to rest.”
Seven Corners arranged for Makenzie and her mom to stay in a hotel so Makenzie could practice walking and regain her strength before boarding a flight home. Once Makenzie felt capable of enduring the long flight, Seven Corners booked her a lay-down seat to ensure maximum comfort and flew the mother-daughter duo back home to California.
“For me to be able to lay down that whole flight and get some rest, I was so grateful,” said Makenzie. “After that experience, it really occurred to me that something can go wrong at any moment, and you need to be prepared for it. I never go on a trip without insurance anymore. I’m about to take a trip to Japan, and insurance was the first thing I bought.”
Said Leanne: “Seven Corners and its staff went out of their way to make sure we didn't have to worry about anything. As they put it, ‘It's my job, it's what I do!’ The communications were constant, and we felt we were in the best hands. They went above and beyond their job description to assure us all was okay and (to make sure) we were comfortable and taken care of.”
Makenzie and her family have purchased travel insurance from Seven Corners more than once. Their story shows how being prepared can be the difference between a happy ending and one that ends in endless headaches or worse. To find the right travel insurance to protect your own trip and health, get a quick quote online or talk with one of our licensed travel insurance agents.
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