Medical Disembarkation

An area for discussing what happens and ways to deal with emergency situations whilst on a cruise.
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david63
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Medical Disembarkation

Post by david63 » 16 Jul 2017, 16:15

Having been through this experience once, and hoping never to have to repeat it, I thought that it would be a good idea to try and give some guidance.

Let's kill one myth right from the start - this is not something that only happens to other passengers!

The circumstances around this will vary with many different factors, and will almost certainly be different if embarking/disembarking is overseas as opposed to being Southampton.

One thing that you can be sure of is, unless you are doing a "Round Britain" cruise, you will be flying somewhere - either home or to re-join the ship.

Now when it comes to a medical disembarkation the ship's doctor is in charge and overrules the Captain so there is only one person that you listen to and the doctor has the authority to delay sailing - or even return to port.

The worse case scenario is the one that we were involved with where we literally had 20 minutes to get everything sorted, packed and be ready to disembark the ship with the help of senior housekeeping staff.

One thing that you will need is an "overnight" bag - although how many overnights will be involved is another matter! The point here is not to only have one or two large suitcases with you - you need something smaller. Also remember that in that case will be all of your valuables. When packing try to remember to look in the not so obvious places such as the shower. Also at this point make sure that you have some form of communication device with you - preferably a smartphone AND ITS CHARGER (and adapter if you are in a foreign country) as this will be invaluable later.

When your cases have been packed you will have two options - either collect your cases at the disembarkation port or have them sent to your home by the Baggage Handling Company (charges will apply).

As long as you have registered your debit/credit card then your on board account will dealt with automatically.

Once you have been disembarked from the ship this is the point where you feel the most vulnerable as you are totally outside of your comfort zone. You have no idea what will happen next and, certainly in our case, there is nobody there to "hold your hand" - although the Port Agent should be (and in our case was) contactable.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Stephen » 16 Jul 2017, 16:53

I can only imagine David what it must feel like once the hospital or whoever have finished with you and you are left to your own devices. But, self preservation probably kicks and the old grey matter starts working overtime on the priorities, which as you mentioned in your earlier posts would be finding somewhere to stay, getting there, having some medicine ;) and then working out your options.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Ian Perth » 16 Jul 2017, 17:49

Posted previously
I've got nothing but praise for all the hospital staff. January this year I had a stroke and decided to still go our booked cruise on Ventura in May. A week into the cruise imsurrered another stroke, a mini stroke this time but ended up in the ship hospital on the Sunday night and taken off in Civitavecchia the next morning. The ship were great and can't praise them enough. The problems started after being released to the port authority. I was taken to the local A&E and spent four nights on a trolley in some of the worst hospital conditions I've seen. To cut a long story short I was then transferred to a private hospital in Rome where a British doctor was flown out to me and escorted us back to Scotland via Heathrow from Rome where I was admitted to my hospital here. I'm recovering well and hope to get away on our planned cruise on Azura in October. The insurance were great as well. Anyone going to Rome should be aware that from my experience you now need top notch insurance, you will need this if you need to get back and be looked after well if your certainly going to Rome based on my experience.

I should add that we are seasoned cruisers, over 25 years with P&O without any problems, but this has changed the way we think. The big issue was that the hospital was understaffed, equipment poor or in bad repair, cleanliness non existent, people sitting in corridors for up to 14 hours to be seen, this was the worst example, average was probably about eight hours or more, no privacy in a ward where five beds were crammed together, no tagging when admitted to the point where they thought I was someone else and tried to take me for a procedure that was nothing to do with me. Anyway, my point is, P&O were great but once in the hand of the port representative then it all changes. Even the British embassy have limited access.

Do check that you are all well covered. The experience has certainly not put us off cruising again but we will do some things differently, things like have the embassy numbers, a phone charger, telephone numbers, insurance all to hand easily.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Kenmo1 » 16 Jul 2017, 18:04

David - as I mentioned on your Adonia review, we left ourselves very vulnerable with a low limit on our one credit card which we always used to take on cruises. Since then, we have increased the limit considerably and also now take a second card.

Some countries won't treat you unless you can prove that you can afford to pay the hospital bill in case the insurance takes a while to sort out or even refuses to pay out. I have heard about problems at hospitals in Mexico and in the States.

I also dread to think how much the cost of a helicopter evacuation costs as we have seen those happen on 2 cruises. Would P&O pay the bill initially and then send you an almighty bill ?

Maureen

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Kenmo1 » 16 Jul 2017, 18:11

david63 wrote:
16 Jul 2017, 16:15
Let's kill one myth right from the start - this is not something that only happens to other passengers!
I think this was your most important statement. We all think it is something that happens to other passengers and won't be us because

a) we are younger
b) we have always been healthy.

Maureen

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by johnds » 16 Jul 2017, 18:48

Kenmo1 wrote:
16 Jul 2017, 18:04
David - as I mentioned on your Adonia review, we left ourselves very vulnerable with a low limit on our one credit card which we always used to take on cruises. Since then, we have increased the limit considerably and also now take a second card.

Maureen
It is essential that if travelling as a couple both of you have a credit card. I recall an issue on a cruise recently where the husband had the credit card and he was very ill and unable to use it which meant that his wife was stranded without access to funds
John

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Manoverboard » 17 Jul 2017, 09:26

Regarding insurance ... do not assume that you have adequate cover, it could prove to be a big mistake.

For starters I would suggest that you all read the FAQs within the ' Insurancewith ' blurb, as per ...

http://www.insurancewith.com/faqs/

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by towny44 » 17 Jul 2017, 10:02

Insurance is an essential but we wonder how much some passengers must be paying, for theirs, if they are telling the truth about their pre-existing conditions. We know how much our's costs, and I consider that despite my wife's stroke disabilities our potential risks are way lower than a lot of our fellow passengers. It only takes one medical disembarkation for the costs of repatriation to far outweigh any savings my not being honest about pre-existing conditions.
John

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by anniec » 17 Jul 2017, 11:52

I often wondered how much help passengers got once the ship had evacuated them. Once saw an elderly man decanted on a stretcher into a pilot boat in some god-forsaken spot, followed by his elderly wife whose stricken face haunted me for weeks. She really did not look up to taking charge in a foreign hospital and/or organising their insurance and repatriation from afar. Rather hoped that P&O sent someone ashore to stay with them, but it appears not.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Stephen » 17 Jul 2017, 14:07

I agree, it must be horrific for anyone let alone the very elderly.


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Whynd1 » 17 Jul 2017, 14:13

I do travel with friends, but if I was medically disembarked I would be on my own and it would be very worrying.
In fact just reading this thread is not doing my stress factor much good.
Lindsey

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Gill W » 17 Jul 2017, 14:26

Last year, in Madeira, an elderly couple asked us for directions, and I asked if they were from the ship. It turned out that they were from A ship. I think it was a Saga vessel. They'd been unloaded there after the husband had a stroke. They had been coming home from the Caribbean. Fortunately, he appeared to be making a good recovery. They'd been in Madeira for 10 days and were waiting for the insurance company to get them home. They were hopeful that they'd be home within a few more days. So that would be a fortnight of hanging around. I think I'd have to make my own arrangements to get home. I'd I was so unfortunate as to have been taken ill I would want to get home as soon as I could, not hang around in a hotel. Under the circumstances they were quite upbeat, but I think it must have been traumatic for both of them.
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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Manoverboard » 17 Jul 2017, 15:03

Gill W wrote:
17 Jul 2017, 14:26
Last year, in Madeira, an elderly couple asked us for directions, and I asked if they were from the ship. It turned out that they were from A ship. I think it was a Saga vessel. They'd been unloaded there after the husband had a stroke. They had been coming home from the Caribbean. Fortunately, he appeared to be making a good recovery. They'd been in Madeira for 10 days and were waiting for the insurance company to get them home. They were hopeful that they'd be home within a few more days. So that would be a fortnight of hanging around. I think I'd have to make my own arrangements to get home. I'd I was so unfortunate as to have been taken ill I would want to get home as soon as I could, not hang around in a hotel. Under the circumstances they were quite upbeat, but I think it must have been traumatic for both of them.
Your story convinces me that as we ( collectively ) get a little older it has to be a wiser choice to be covered by a company like Saga than by a low cost provider / Bank Account freebee type deal.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by david63 » 17 Jul 2017, 16:06

As for being "abandoned" from what I could understand it is a bit of a grey area.

Once you are off the ship then you are the responsibility of your insurance company not the cruise line, but I think that each case will be dealt with on its own merits. Sending someone from the ship is not, in many cases, a practical option as they do not necessarily have the knowledge to deal with some of these matters which is where the Port Agent steps in.

Depending on the seriousness of the medical condition that required disembarkation then there is the Carnival Care Team who, I believe, will if it is necessary fly out to help.

In our particular case the Care Team were in contact with me within an hour of being disembarked and kept in daily (more if required) contact until we were back home.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by gilly88 » 17 Jul 2017, 17:00

it certainly brings you up short when you see someone being taken off in an ambulance when in port. many times I have thought there but for the grace of god....I feel so worried about them, as they always look like lost souls.
regards gilly.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Kenmo1 » 17 Jul 2017, 17:16

towny44 wrote:
17 Jul 2017, 10:02
Insurance is an essential but we wonder how much some passengers must be paying, for theirs, if they are telling the truth about their pre-existing conditions. We know how much our's costs, and I consider that despite my wife's stroke disabilities our potential risks are way lower than a lot of our fellow passengers. It only takes one medical disembarkation for the costs of repatriation to far outweigh any savings my not being honest about pre-existing conditions.
We did part of the Southampton to Alaska cruise and met an 80 year old man who was doing the full trip. A few years before he had had a heart attack. If I remember correctly the full trip was 72 nights and a lot of it in America and Canada. He had paid £1800 for his insurance but it did NOT cover his pre-existing heart condition. I assume he thought the next heart attack would kill him outright so he wouldn't have to worry about the outcome. Goodness knows what would have happened if he had been offloaded in America and had been given some medical treatment/surgery and survived it only to face a massive bill.

Maureen


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by screwy » 17 Jul 2017, 17:23

I can only go off our own experience of being 'Diembarked'.
After slipping on deck on Azura whilst in Dominica i sustained a broken leg in 4 places. The doctor said i would need to be Diembarked as i needed an operation, she wouldnt put me off there but was told it would be the next day in St.Kitts. The Port Agents came on board and took control of myself and my wife,an Ambulance took us to the local Hospital where after a wait of about 4 hrs i was told by the Consultant that i could go home and have the Op.The Agents said there was a direct flight to Gatwick 2 days later and suggested to my wife that they take her to a travel agent and book the seats..!!! This was refused as we were waiting for the Insurance to get back to us.They did take her to a hotel which had very few facilities.I was put on a private ward until things were sorted, this took 5 days as the insurance said i had to have the Op out there,i was eventually flown to Martinique where the Op was done. The insurance organised everything from leaving St Kitts to eventually getting back home.We had to pay upfront for the Hospital and Hotel bills in St Kitts. To be honest the Port Agents were a waste of space. We had a visit from the Minister of Tourism (St Kitts ) who was extremely Kind, she gave us her office and home number to call if we needed anything.The P&O care team were in touch daily until we got home.
I can only say that it was the most horrible experience ever even more for my wife who had to carry all our valuables around with her because there wasnt a safe in either of the Hotels she was put up in. Good Insurance is a must.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Mervyn and Trish » 17 Jul 2017, 19:53

Manoverboard wrote:
17 Jul 2017, 15:03
Your story convinces me that as we ( collectively ) get a little older it has to be a wiser choice to be covered by a company like Saga.........
Good luck with that if their travel insurance is as good as their car insurance!


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by CaroleF » 18 Jul 2017, 11:26

All this is making me feel better about the huge amount we've paid for our travel insurance for our long 65 night trip on Aurora next year. The medical questioning was done by someone medically qualified who knew all about the tablets I take and the eye drops John uses for his glaucoma. Part of the reason the amount was high is that it covers the entire cost of the cruise should we need to cancel before going, many travel insurances have a limit of 5 or 10k. As we have a mini suite for this cruise (John's idea!) the bill is considerably higher than £10k. Also the fact that we are now both aged - well 70 but don't feel like it! We also have to call the company a week before we pay the balance for the trip to make sure none of the medical details have changed. John had to have treatment for an eye problem when we were on Adonia on the Baltic trip pre Fathom, and ended up having to see an eye specialist in Tallin. All was very efficiently arranged by the ship's doctor. John was collected by the Port Agent in a taxi, went to the private eye clinic and then on to a pharmacy where he collected the prescription and then back to the ship. Unfortunately he didn't see much of Tallin! However, the bill for this wasn't particularly high - from memory something like £150 which our travel insurance refunded. This event pales into insignificance when I read about the elderly couple in Madeira. When I see some of the passengers on board I wonder how some of them would cope if they had to be off loaded. I was reading on FB about someone who was asking what was the cheapest Travel Insurance they could get away with. They should read this thread and then maybe they'd change their mind.

Carole

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by david63 » 18 Jul 2017, 11:30

CaroleF wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 11:26
However, the bill for this wasn't particularly high - from memory something like £150
It cost more than that just for the doctor to arrange for disembarkation!

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Dancing Queen » 18 Jul 2017, 11:53

It never ceases to amaze me how often people do ask 'where can I get cheap insurance from' our insurance premiums bring tears to my eyes at times !! but I wouldn't even consider looking at 'cheap' I think anyone who has a pre existing and/or is getting on in years would be foolish to not consider they should have sufficient cover for all eventualities whatever the cost.
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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by screwy » 18 Jul 2017, 12:51

david63 wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 11:30
CaroleF wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 11:26
However, the bill for this wasn't particularly high - from memory something like £150
It cost more than that just for the doctor to arrange for disembarkation!
Hmm. My ship bill was £1700...

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Ian Perth » 18 Jul 2017, 13:32

One night in the medical centre, £1500, paid by insurance.


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Whynd1 » 18 Jul 2017, 14:09

When you say paid for by the insurance Ian, did you pay the ship and then claim it back or did the insurance pay the cruise company directly ?


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by screwy » 18 Jul 2017, 16:41

Pay the ship and claim back from Insurance.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Ian Perth » 18 Jul 2017, 17:01

Hi had to settle before leaving ship then claimed insurance when back home


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Whynd1 » 18 Jul 2017, 18:26

Thought so.


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Whynd1 » 30 Jul 2017, 14:47

Have taken some of the advice on this forum and have now bought an android phone, I and been thinking for a while of purchasing one but this made my mind up.
So now have a Sony E5:on O2 pay as you go as didn't want to be tied to a contract and I don't use my phone a lot. Also bought a European adapter.
So feel better prepared for my October cruise.Am also thinking if taking my tablet but it's a nexus 10 inch and quite hefty but might take it.

Lindsey

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Manoverboard » 30 Jul 2017, 16:50

Please make sure that you can add call time to your phone via the phone itself else get some vouchers in ..... overseas calls can cost a bob or two.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by david63 » 30 Jul 2017, 17:08

Also make sure that you have roaming available - not all PAYG allow it.


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Whynd1 » 30 Jul 2017, 17:53

Thank you, I will check that, will also get a bolt on or a bundle for the 17 nights I am away.
It's all new to me, just got to work out how to use the phone now.


Lindsey


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by AnnCAgain » 31 Aug 2017, 21:35

My son-in-law sustained a head injury on board Celebrity Eclipse while she was docked in Livorno about six years ago. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, had two scans and was released. (This is obviously cutting a very long story short!) The ship delayed departure until he arrived back, the medical care on board was free "because the accident happened on the ship", there was no charge for the hospital treatment and no E111s were asked for. Although he showed his insurance documents on board they can't have been charged because no request was made for the excess. This was HSBC insurance that he pays £9.95 for per month for the family. They couldn't praise the hospital enough. Maybe they were lucky.


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by poole boy » 21 Sep 2017, 16:26

Hi I would just like to say that the medical staff on Adonia are excellent, last week on our Adonia cruise I collapsed outside the shops actually landing on my head and was unconscious for about 2 mins the nurses got to me very quickly and took me to the medical centre were the doctor and nurses treated me wonderfully, they thought at first I would have to leave the ship but after 2 days of excellent care I was allowed to stay on board but not allowed of at our next stop.
so I would just like to say a big thank you to the doctor and nurses on Adonia we still think it is a wonderful ship and when I am finished having the tests I am having we hope to be able to go on her again.

graham
Last edited by poole boy on 21 Sep 2017, 16:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Stephen » 21 Sep 2017, 17:15

Try taking more water with it Graham.

Seriously though, hope you are now ok and the tests come back all good. :thumbup:


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by poole boy » 21 Sep 2017, 17:32

Stephen unfortunately that is one of the things the onboard doctor banned water only he said :cry:
graham


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by poole boy » 09 Oct 2017, 08:41

Hi david63 just wondering if you have heard anything from the insurance company yet as we have had our claim in for 3 weeks and not even had an acknowledgment.
graham

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by david63 » 09 Oct 2017, 08:51

poole boy wrote:
09 Oct 2017, 08:41
Hi david63 just wondering if you have heard anything from the insurance company yet as we have had our claim in for 3 weeks and not even had an acknowledgment.
graham
I had my claim paid out in full within a week of submitting all the paperwork


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by poole boy » 18 Oct 2017, 17:19

Hi david63 we received our claim payment this morning took just over 4 weeks but at least they paid in full with no argument :D

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