issue, Gavin went out to repatriate the patient himself with another colleague. He explained: “Long story short, one of the home care agency nurses tipped us off that the overseas nursing agency had reported us to immigration as working abroad and they would be waiting to arrest us when we arrived at the house with the ambulance. We had to employ diverting tactics to get the poor lady and her husband out of the house and to the airport.” He added: “T e family sent us a local newspaper cutting a few days later with a photo of the ambulance we were supposedly in with the headline ‘British Nurses steal local nurses jobs!!’. Needless to say, I ensured the company fi nance director revised the agreed costs to the overseas nursing agency!” But missions don’t need to be that dramatic to be oddly memorable. For example, there was the time that Seven Corners was called to help an 86-year-old with breathing diffi culties in Antartica, only to fi nd that he was Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. In another case, Dr Ioannis Mamidakis, medical director of Gamma Air Medical in Greece, told ITIJ about a mission that had more than its fair share of stumbling blocks: “In a recent mission, we organised the repatriation of a patient from distant Bhubaneswar, India to Athens, Greece. We

made all possible arrangements, including the diffi cult procedure of ticketing – there are no direct fl ights to this city from anywhere in the Middle East region, and in order to avoid any issues in India, we had to make sure we had all necessary documentation for the patient.” T e trip proved to be tricky, though, he explained: “On arrival at Delhi, our medical team, with their boarding passes in hand, almost missed their fl ight to Bhubaneswar, as no one seemed to know the correct

missions don’t need to be ... dramatic to be oddly memorable

gate. Everybody (control, military and information desk personnel) addressed them to a diff erent gate and the airline’s desk was empty! Finally, after a lot of questions they managed to arrive at the correct gate to depart at the last minute.” So far, so par for the course, but the fun continued: “Upon arrival in Bhubaneswar, they visited the patient at the hospital to assess him, as we always do, after a long drive with major traffi c the like of which we had never seen before. T e medical team

had a long conversation with the treating doctors, the nurses and a representative of the patient. All seemed to comprehend the arrangements made for the departure the following day; however, the next day nothing was prepared! T e long previous conversations were in vain, as if they had never happened. T e patient was not even dressed and packed, he was casually eating a snack on his bed.” T ankfully, said Dr Mamidakis, the medical team arrived at the hospital early and saw to it that everything was set for the departure. T e unusualness climaxed on the fl ight home: “T e patient was in a general good clinical condition, but was rather confused due to his age and health problem. During the fl ight back to Athens he was constantly calling a female name, Consuela, and our medical team, without knowing who she was, reassured him that he was going to see her soon.” However, the female name proved to be a pirate corvette ship – a light frigate in service of the East India Trading Company! – the patient had been convinced he was going to embark on the ship for a sea adventure. T ankfully, even these memorable cases turned out well – even the missing patient was eventually located. No escorts or patients were harmed in the making of this article. ■

24 | International Travel & Health Insurance Journal

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