Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cyprus: British Tourist, 77, with International Med Coverage Dies in Kyrenia

According to The Cyprus Mail, the fiancée of British tourist Peter Pierce, 77, Glenys Thorton, has claimed that the poor handling of Pierce's medical emergency in Kyrenia led to the Briton's death.

Pierce was admitted to a Turkish-Cypriot public hospital in Kyrenia a week ago suffering from gastroenteritis after failing to respond to a course of antibiotics prescribed to him by a local doctor.  Yet, on Wednesday (May 16), Pierce died after suffering three episodes of cardiac arrest, septic shock and renal failure.

Thorton told the Mail that she reported Pierce's admittance to the hospital in Kyrenia immediately to Insure and Go and Mapfre Assistance Ireland, the latter of whom handles international medical claims for Insure and Go. Thorton's position was that Pierce should have been transferred to a private hospital once he had been stabilized, but treatment was delayed while the transfer was being discussed.

COMMENT: One of the reasons to have international medical and evacuation coverage is to ensure that those requiring treatment can communicate with medical providers, which was not the case at the public hospital in Kyrenia. 

Later in the week, Pierce was ultimately transferred to a public hospital in the capital of Nicosia, but by then his condition had irreversibly deteriorated. 

 It is never prudent to subscribe to international and medical evacuation coverage through a provider that has claims processed through a third-party.

The Cyprus Mail's effort to obtain a response from Insure and Go or Mapfre were unsuccessful.

Mr. Pierce's tragic death brings to light a number of considerations:
  • All foreign travelers need to have a thorough medical examination before embarking on any trip abroad, but particularly if they have preexisting conditions or are elderly;
  • Travelers need to seriously consider as to whether certain countries have adequate medical facilities if they were to become ill or injured while abroad. If medical facilities are not adequate, perhaps a different destination should be selected that has developed world medical facilities; and
  •  Cutting  costs on international medical and evacuate coverage is not recommended. Generally speaking, I suggest that travelers consider any of the follow providers: International SOS Assistance, MEDEX and Europ Assistance.