Injured While Abroad...Advice?

in AppleOutsider edited January 2014
My mother called me last night to tell me that my cousin, while vacationing in Florence, fell down a flight of stairs, breaking his ankle, arm, and several vertebrae. They're working with the US consulate for translation services and to arrange travel back, but they're having difficulty/being frustrated by how all of it is going. The hospital won't release him to an airline unless they are guaranteed that he will be on his back for the entire trip, which means three seats on a trans-atlantic flight (oof).

Aside from working with the consulate and maybe directly with the airline, is there anything y'all recommend they do?


  • Reply 1 of 6
    I have no personal experience getting seriously injured abroad, just violently ill... sorry to hear about your cousin. Hope he gets the care he needs.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    Check also for charter flights. He might be able to find a group that takes pity on him.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    aslan^aslan^ Posts: 599member
    Why does he want to go back to the states?

    Is there anything wrong with receiving treatment in Florence?
  • Reply 4 of 6
    jubelumjubelum Posts: 4,490member
    I broke my leg in a foreign country about seven years ago... I ended up getting some attention from my congressman, and made quite a bit of noise with the American consulate. Even with that I ended up with some complicated promissory note to a Czech doctor's investment trust. It just continued to get stranger as things went on.

    Quite candidly, I'd tell you that international systems of immigration/medical payment sometimes do well to run with the mundane, much less with an American in a medical emergency and it can be a challenge satisfying all the things that lead to a smooth outcome. I know for a fact, looking back, that two separate parties took advantage of the language barrier and the "home turf" flexibility in interpreting the "law."

    I had purchased travel medical insurance that included evacuation extras (anyone who travels abroad should look into this kind of insurance, it is cheap and ended up helping a lot, after a couple of reams of paperwork).

    I'd say the consulate, call State in DC, and if there is no outcome you can live with, call your Congressional delegation. I've personally seen situations where a single call from an intern can get things moving, especially around budget time.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    midwintermidwinter Posts: 10,060member
    Why doesn't the quote thingy work?!


    Yes. Apparently, he's in casts and is receiving care that's fine from the doctors. The family isn't happy with the staff at the hospital who are "being very rude." And by rude they mean making fun of them.

    I take all of this with a grain of salt.

    Anyway, the primary issue here is that he has to lay flat on his back and the hospital will not release him until that is guaranteed, apparently.


    Yes. Consulate is involved and is providing translators. Local US Rep is involved. Wheels seem to be turning.

    I think the largest issue is that the family is very frustrated because a) it's different than in America, b) no one speaks English, and c) he's apparently in pain.

    Right now, they're debating taking a boat back, which has a lot of advantages, not the least of which is that there'll be medical services.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    aslan^aslan^ Posts: 599member
    Maybe he could get space on a military flight. There's plenty of room in those Air Force cargo planes.

    There's a US airbase in Aviano, perhaps you could mention it to the embassy staff and they could arrange something.
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