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Old 02-01-2008, 16:24   #1
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HEART ATTACK WHILE CRUISING!

Just wanted to give everybody a "heads-up"..........
I was in the hospital today for a CT Heart Scan and since the Cardiologist was a "cruiser" I mentioned the story about a friend dying of a Heart-Attack last week in Miami AFTER being "stuck" in a Jamaican Hospital with virtually NO care from them.
It took his wife 3 or 4 days to convince the U.S. to fly a MEDIVAC to Jamaica to pick him up after suffering the attack. The Jamaican hospital really DID LITTLE OR NOTHING for him, even if they wanted to his wife said they really didn't have any "qualified" doctors ...... but by the time he got to the hospital in MIAMI it was too late... the damage was done.... and he died.

My Cardiologist told me to get "TRAVEL INSURANCE" for cruising "outside" the U.S....... His hospital had a MEDIVAC JET and they flew many missions to the Carribean picking up injured/sick Americans....... but for that you have to PAY as much as $35,000.00 for the trip!...... but with the Travel Insurance it's approved immediately and you're picked up.....

Sounds like it's worth the bucks to get this insurance!
And, no I'm not an insurance salesman, but I will get it when I shove off later this year!
Just wanted to keep everybody posted.......
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:29   #2
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"It took his wife 3 or 4 days to convince the U.S. to fly a MEDIVAC"
Why would his wife be trying to get a US government medevac flight, when there are civilian flights to and from Jamaica? Even if she was relying on the theoretical obligation of the US embassy toward the crew of documented vessels...these days there are few embassies that want to discuss that when you have commercial options.

Yes, there are many options for medevac insurance and if you buy it--doublecheck to see if it covers a companion or not. Some do, some don't. Scheduled carriers will take a patient on a litter on a scheduled flight--sometimes--if there is a companion, otherwise they won't. And that companion will be paying top dollar for a flight. Medevac specials may not take anyone except the patient and medical staff, that's their option.

No cardiac care in Jamaica? Hard to believe, but we don't know all the facts.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:58   #3
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The Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC), a comprehensive heart care centre, is located in Jamaica (on Balmoral Avenue, St. Andrew).
There are at least 10 Hospitals, and numerous Air Ambulance companies that service Jamaica:


Air Ambulance Companies
National Air Ambulance Ft. Lauderdale 305-359-9900
Airborne Ambulance Service Ft. Lauderdale 305-525-5538
Air Ambulance Association Ft. Lauderdale 305-776-6800
Air Evac, International (Milan) Ft. Lauderdale 305-772-0003
Pegasus Jet Aviation Corp., Ft. Lauderdale 305-772-8820

Local and Commercial Medevac
Norman Manley Airport Military Unit
JDF Command (Helicopter Evacuation) Air Wind Duty Officer

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Old 03-01-2008, 13:16   #4
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Finally a topic I can expertly comment on.
in 2004 I retired as a Flight Paramedic.

To comment on the couple from Jamaica.
Commercial airlines will not clear a medical patient to fly without a DRs order on file. This can take up to 72hrs in it's self. They won't carry an unstable patient under any circumstance.

On travel insurance and foreign hospitals.
I've been in most major hospitals on almost all of the islands between Trinidad and Miami. Some are good, some are bad. If you have the "I'm an American bow to me" attitude. You can find you might be ignored.
If you want air evac insurance I'd suggest no less than 50K. Most Air Ambulances services will make an effort to take a family member with unless the patient is extremely critical and requires extensive in flight care.
IF this becomes an issue make sure you know where your pasports are. You'll need them to arrange the flight. The AA needs the passangers info before departing the US. Also be prepared to give a credit card as a gaurantee up front. Don't be offended. THe AA has massive expenses just to get to you. Then they have to wait up to 120 days to get paid.
I believe there are special things for the Canadians, but I don't know them.
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Old 03-01-2008, 13:22   #5
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Get yourself a heart by-pass operation

As we know most heart attacks are caused by Cholesterol build up in the arteries and therefore restriction in blood flow - hence the attack.
I had decided that at 50 I would get a full body check as my Dad had had a quintrupal heart by-pass at 59.
What resulted from my check up, which included chest x-rays, ECG's, treadmill tests etc, etc was that I needed a triple heart by-pass (everything else seemed OK) so 3 weeks later I had the op. I was home within 3 days, back to work within 10 days and I do actually feel much healthier, although I was not ill before, all my friends were shocked when they heard I had to have the OP.
It has meant that for the rest of my life I am on dispersible aspirin and a Statin tablet to keep my Cholesterol down.
I see all of this as a major bonus as I have pre-empted the possibility of a heart attack I could have had earlier in my life than most which could have done serious damage to my heart.
Also on a final note I had my 2 radial (arm) arteries removed to be used as the bypasses and not the vein in the leg, so they will last much longer and for the rest of my life, which I hope will be much longer.
So my advice is get yourself checked out and if you need a by-pass have it done, sooner than later.
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Old 03-01-2008, 13:37   #6
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ireaney..... that's the position I'm currently in, that's why I had a "64 slice" CT done yesterday which I payed for since CIGNA would NOT! Apparently, this particular CT is new compared to the CT's the doctors have in their office.

But just a quick note, they now are using a "minimal evasive" by-pass which means they don't cut your chest open but use "arthro-scopic" procedures... much less traumatic, and I'm sure I'll have this done soon since I have one artery that is 100% blocked.
But it's good to know about MEDIVACS, and referring to the couple in JAMAICA I believe one of the problems, as previously posted, was getting a DOCTOR to sign-off on the flight.
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Old 03-01-2008, 13:48   #7
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Hi High Cotton... I asked if they would use "arthro-scopic" procedures but as they also removed my mammaral artery, I believe they said it was much easier to split the sternum, which makes recovery much slower as I was not allowed to lift more bthan 3 kgs for up to 6 weeks or lie on my side while it all fused back together again, mind you I never really suffered any pain only slight discomfort.
Best bit it was all free on the UK Health Service.
Good luck, if you have any questions go ahead and ask and if I know the answer I will tell you.
Cheers
Ian
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Old 03-01-2008, 16:27   #8
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Look at Med-Jet insurance. They will fly you out to any medical facility of your choice.

We belong but haven't needed them yet, but have talked to cruisers who have and are happy.

George
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Old 03-01-2008, 17:25   #9
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Glad to hear that you guys are ok and taking the steps to verify such status. This brings up another question. I know that people must get sick (not seasick) during LONG passages, what happens?? Do they just ride it out and hope for the best? I'm talking about being the middle of the ocean with at least 10 days of sail in any direction.

And even if you could make it to an island, like that couple in Jamaica, the care would be nonexistent. I guess the best that could happen is that you have everyone trained as much as possible on the basics, cuts, poisons, stitching, etc. And if it is beyond that, I guess you just need to accept it and die in the ocean?!?!

I guess if that was my fate, I would just rather die at sea and not in some run down ward. But that being said, every true sailor and cruiser that I met were in incredible shape. Either it was their simple balanced diets, constant movement and workout with the sails, etc..

What do you all think?? What would you do if you or someone became violently ill during a long passage with nothing insight for weeks??

Cheers!
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Old 03-01-2008, 17:33   #10
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"What do you all think?? What would you do if you or someone became violently ill during a long passage with nothing insight for weeks?? "
You MAYDAY, ride it out, or die. Sometimes there is a mechant ship or naval vessel with medical facilities that will divert to aid you. There's a network set up to ensure that, as best possible.
Sometimes you can get medical advice over the radio, and aid the crew yourself. And at other times--all you can do is ride it out and pray, as sailors have always done.
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Old 03-01-2008, 17:55   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Cotton View Post
"qualified" doctors ...... but by the time he got to the hospital in MIAMI it was too late... the damage was done.... and he died.


.......
Maybe they could tell that there was so much initial damage that he was going to die anyway.

All other "first world" medical costs are less than in the US. There are many reasons.
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Old 03-01-2008, 18:15   #12
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Nevermonday - Are you "fully" retired? Interestingly, my wife recently started working with ISOS as a medical staff recruiter. A person with the right skills, MD, paramedic or nurse, can make a decent cruising kitty in 3-4 months of work.
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Old 03-01-2008, 19:00   #13
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- For avoiding heart attacks while cruising, I'd say that excercise and proper diet are going to go a lot farther for you than anything else (barring genetic stuff). The vast majority of heart attacks are from preventable causes.

- If I was at risk, I might seriously consider carrying one of the automatic defibs.

- Everyone on the boat should know CPR, and be certified. If you have your captain's license, you'll need to keep it current.
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Old 03-01-2008, 19:05   #14
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Tell us the price...

For those of us who hate insurance, and would rather pay cash as it becomes necessary, does anyone know the cost of an air ambulance evacuation?
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Old 03-01-2008, 19:28   #15
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For those of us who hate insurance, and would rather pay cash as it becomes necessary, does anyone know the cost of an air ambulance evacuation?
That's a good question, maybe somebody in that business could tell us...... but the Cardiologist I spoke with at HOLLYWOOD REGIONAL WEST told me that the company they used, based at Fort Lauderdale Airport, has charged as much as $35,000....... it depended who was required to go along on the flight for that specific emergency such as Doctors, Nurses, Technicians, because they DO have medical equipment on-board.
We've all seen the outlandish prices charged in Emergency Rooms/Operating Rooms for surgery, etc., so it wouldn't surprise me if it is $35,000.

Going on a cruise and eating properly and exercising is a good idea, but I would think in most cases that alone would not prevent a heart attack, that condition builds up over a lifetime (and genetics).
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