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A young 19 year old South African who was studying in Wenzhou, China became ill and was admitted to a local hospital in July 2018. He was fortunately covered on a travel insurance policy through Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC). This TIC Policy was managed by MSO International from a medical assistance point of view. MSO International was notified of this case after he had been in ICU in Wenzhou Government Hospital for almost 4 weeks. MSO was not happy with the care he was getting at this hospital, and arranged, through MSO’s partner IAG company, Covermore China, to move him by road ambulance to the Shanghai East International Medical Center (SEIMC) in Shanghai.

Evacuation Plans

All available options for evacuation to Johannesburg were considered, including commercial flights, air ambulance evacuations and the Lufthansa Patient Transport Compartment (PTC). An option to fly the patient to a top hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, was also considered. The Lufthansa PTC was selected as the preferred option due to the cost and the fact that the risks relating to the Air Ambulance evacuation were too high (multiple stops with two different air ambulance providers; risk of technical issues with aircraft; oxygen capacity issues).

The complication with the Lufthansa PTC was that it involved two flights, Shanghai to Frankfurt, and then Frankfurt to Johannesburg. There was a mandatory 17 hour lay-over in Frankfurt, which meant admission of the patient to a Frankfurt Hospital for this time, and the fact that the patient and flight doctor would would need a Schengen Visa. It took a great deal of effort from MSO, liaising with the SEIMC, the patient’s mother, Lufthansa and the German Embassy in Shanghai, to finally get the patient his Schengen Visa. This process took 2 weeks.