Medical Disembarkation

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

Post by CaroleF » 12 Oct 2019, 11:58

After our experience last month when we were medically disembarked from Aurora in St. John's Newfoundland I have just re-read people's experiences on this thread. I thought it might be interesting if I recount what exactly happened to us. We boarded Aurora on 1st September for the 30 night cruise to Canada/USA on Wednesday 4th John went to see the Dr on board as he'd suddenly developed a 'dropped foot'. This means that if he put his heel on the floor, keeping it there he couldn't raise his toes, so he was walking flat footed. Also his foot was very cold although he could feel anyone touching it. He seemed a long time and when he returned, obviously having had a blood test, I said "Well?" He looked rather sheepish and said he'd got to be landed - I didn't quite understand what he meant but he said he had to go to the hospital in St. John's as soon as we docked. It also meant that we had to pack up the cabin - only unpacked on the Sunday! We also had to take a case with us in case we had to fly home. The doctor thought that there may be a problem with the nerves in John's back which was causing the foot problem - he didn't have any back pain. John does have Polymyalgia but the Doctor didn't think that was anything to do with it. Later that day the Port Services Manager - a lovely man - came up to talk to us about luggage. Everything would stay on board - just as well we had 6 cases of varying sizes - and we could either collect it at Southampton when the ship returned or we could arrange for the Baggage Handling Company to collect it. We live near Southampton so we said we'd collect it. Paul, the PSM told me we could have free phone calls to enable us to contact family at home.

As you can imagine this was an incredible shock. We were told that the Port Agent would collect us from the Medical Centre on the Friday when we arrived in St. John's and take us to the hospital. Apparently two other passengers were being disembarked but they both had to have ambulances whereas we just needed a taxi. So Thursday was spent packing up and deciding what to take with us apart from the necessities. We both had mobiles so we made sure they were fully charged and packed the chargers. It also occurred to me that we might need a plug adapter if we ended up staying in an hotel before going home or if I did if John was kept in the hospital and we didn't have one with us as we didn't expect to need one - didn't need on on Aurora - so I had to go and buy one from the shop. We had told our table companions - 2nd sitting - on the Wednesday evening that we had to go ashore and on the Thursday evening we didn't feel like joining in with the table talk so we went to The Glasshouse and had a lovely meal there.

Come Friday morning we'd been told to be at the medical centre at 9.45am. The day before when we'd both seen the Doctor he'd told us that if the hospital said it was ok he'd be quite happy to have John back on board. He'd given John a report to give the hospital and a copy for John plus one to give his GP. He'd been in touch with our Insurance Company - AXA through John's Lloyds account - so they knew what was happening and we had a case number. Paul came in with the Port Agent and the Doctor again said to them that he'd be happy to have John back on board. So we went off the ship with the Port Agent who, it seemed to us, couldn't get rid of us quick enough. He gave us his card and said to ring him if we wanted a hotel room. I asked him if we get in touch with him if we have to fly home and would he help us with getting flights. Oh no, he said, that was nothing to do with him, up to us and our insurance company. That was a bit of a shock. So off we went in a taxi to the hospital. On arrival it became apparent that we had to pay the taxi driver when I know the PSM Paul told us we wouldn't have to pay for that - it wasn't a lot $20 and we had cash. The hospital looked large and modern - but inside it was quite shabby. In some ways it was just like being back at home in that we had to go to A&E and queue to see the Triage Nurse. We had thought that our documents from the ship's doctor might get us straight through but no. When we had gone through Triage we then had to register. We were asked for our Insurance Card - of course we didn't have one - we said we could tell the girl our Insurance Company. She wasn't concerned at that and said not to worry the bill would be sent to our home address! Not once were we asked for a credit card. Then it was waiting to see a doctor, but it didn't take long. I must now say that all the staff in the hospital were so kind and friendly and incredibly helpful. Give me a shabby hospital surroundings and wonderful staff any time. The doctor having heard the story said he would order a CT Scan. While we were waiting John looked at the copy of the Ship's Doctor's report and contrary to what he told us about welcoming us back on board if the hospital said it was ok, he had written - I think he should be repatriated to the UK as soon as possible!! This was not what he'd said to us, even that morning as we left.
Anyway, the CT scan was done and the results went to a Neurologist Consultant. Eventually our young doctor came back and said that the Neurologist thought the foot was probably a result of a problem with two of the lumbar vertebrae and the nerves were affected. He said that an MRI was indicated, not urgently and he would probably wait a couple of weeks to see what happened before having one. He didn't see any reason why John shouldn't continue with the cruise. Our young doctor said the same thing and said if he was us he'd continue back on the ship. We needed to get in touch with the ship to see if the Doctor would let John back on board. John tried ringing the Port Agent but the number on his card - which didn't refer to him as the Port Agent at all - was answered by someone who said they'd never heard of the name. John had spoken to AXA who were happy to have us continue the cruise providing the hospital said ok and the ship's doctor said ok. I also discovered I'd had three missed calls from a Southampton number which I discovered was the Carnival Care people who were lovely when I phoned them. I was given a number that I could call over the weekend - a 24 hour service, very welcome. We then discovered on the bottom of the ship Doctor's report that he'd put his mobile number so we tried ringing that. Eventually he called me so I gave the phone to John to speak to him. Luckily, oh so luckily, at that moment the young doctor came along so I asked him if he was willing to talk to the ship's doctor and he said "Yes, of course". So we waited while to two doctors spoke to each other, fingers crossed. Eventually our young doctor handed the phone back to John saying the ship's doctor wanted to speak to him. While they spoke the young doctor said he told him that there was no reason in the opinion of the Neurologist and his opinion that John shouldn't go back on the cruise but he had the feeling that the ship's doctor wasn't keen. At last John came off the phone and said yes we could go back on board but we would have to sign an indemnity form to say we wouldn't take any action if any problems arose as a result of us not going back home. John had said he was happy to do that. We had received the opinion of a Consultant Neurologist and were willing to take what he said.
So we then needed to get a taxi. Meanwhile the doctor had given us a written report of the CT scan and a report from the Neurologist to take back with us. We were amazed how quickly things had been done. We had been chatting to a couple of Paramedics who had taken one of the other passengers by ambulance to a different hospital - he was being kept in apparently - and he seeing we were trying to find out the number of a taxi said not to worry, he would call us a taxi and his partner said he'd take our cases out the front of the hospital and show us where to wait for the taxi. They were so kind - all of them. We got our taxi back to the port with a driver who had such a broad accent we could hardly understand him, asked where our next port was. We said, Corner Brook, Oh dear, he said, that's where Hurricane Dorian is headed. He was right and in the event of course we had to miss Corner Brook and go back out into the Atlantic for 300 miles to miss the effects of Dorian. This trip back to the port only cost us $14 but we were so thankful we gave him 20 anyway.

We managed to get through the security at the port gate once they'd got in touch with the ship - no cruise cards, they'd been taken from us before we left Aurora. Once on board we had to wait at Security while someone arranged to get us new Cruise Cards. We were told then to go straight to the Medical Centre. We left the ship at 9.45am and were back on board at 4.30pm after having seen a doctor, had a CT scan, had the opinion of a Neurologist, and got the report printed, not bad! So we saw the Ship's doctor again who left us in no doubt it was against his better judgement that he was letting us back. We had to both sign an Indemnity form which we did. Neither of us mentioned what he'd said about welcoming John back if the hospital said it was ok - we were back, that was enough.

So back to the cabin - exhausted. We'd had nothing to eat all day so we ordered a cream tea from Room Service and both thoroughly enjoyed it! We both believe that if it hadn't been for the young doctor talking to the Ship's Doctor we'd never have got back. As far as the Port Agent was concerned he was nothing like the Port Agent who'd helped John once before when we were in Tallin and he had to go to a local eye clinic as he'd developed a corneal infection in his eye. That time the Agent couldn't do enough, stayed with him, took him to the local pharmacy to get the drops he needed and back to the ship. Apart from ordering us a taxi this Agent seemed to have washed his hands of us. I don't know how he was with the other people. I accept he couldn't accompany us to the hospital as he had the other passengers to deal with.

Our table companions were so welcoming and pleased to see us back. Another result of being disembarked and then returning was that everything we'd booked - table reservations, all our excursions which had been booked and paid for at home, were cancelled. So we had a long session at the excursions desk rebooking where we could. Admittedly some trips John had chosen were no longer suitable as John didn't want to go on any that required a lot of walking whereas previously he always chose the very active trips. Of course as our trips had all been cancelled they were then marked as available so those people on the waitlist were able to secure them. We managed to book most things we wanted just a couple we missed out on but in the grand scheme of things we felt so lucky to be back that it didn't matter.

One I suppose quite amusing thing had happened. Before leaving the ship we didn't know if we would be allowed back, in fact at the time it seemed that it was most likely we'd be flying home, we had a lot of on board credit. The Passenger Services Manager said if he was us he'd spend it as if we flew home we'd lose it. So on the day before we got to St. John's we had a lovely time buying presents for family, Christmas presents etc. We didn't manage to spend all of it - just as well as in the event we returned - but the face of the assistant in the perfume place was a picture when I put down over £200 worth of things!

Looking back now we did feel somewhat abandoned - I think mostly by the Port Agent, especially after reading of some other people's experiences on this thread who had really helpful Agents. We were impressed that the Care People at Southampton had tried to contact me very quickly and had we needed them I'm sure they would have been very helpful. We are still going through the Insurance claim - for the Medical expenses on board - over £500 - and eventually for the hospital charges, although we still haven't had a bill from the hospital. AXA have had the hospital report and they said they were going to contact the hospital, Eastern Health in St. John's regarding charges. Incidentally the husband of a couple on our table had an accident when on a Whale Watching trip, injured his back on the boat and had to be taken to hospital and had to pay with a credit card there and then as soon as he was admitted for an X-ray. Luckily he was able to return to the ship. It seems odd that we didn't have to pay, especially as John had a CT scan.

So lessons learned: have excellent Insurance cover - make sure everything is covered and that the insurance company knows about all pre-existing conditions, make sure Cruising is covered, make sure helicopter evacuation is covered. Make sure you have cash, credit cards - more than one - phones and chargers, socket adapter. Have your insurance details with you. At each port make sure you have the ship's phone number, the Port Agent's name and number. As someone said earlier, have a smallish case that you can take if you have to leave the ship and fly home. Again as someone said before, don't think it's something that can only happen to other people - it isn't. It had made me think about whether we would do a long cruise again - our longest has been 65 nights round South America with no problem. John didn't have any illness at all until he was 73 when the Polymyalgia appeared so he's really unused to being ill - but that's another story! Shall we say, not a good patient!

Carole

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GillD46
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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by GillD46 » 12 Oct 2019, 16:19

Sounds somewhat worrying, as if things had been different for John, you would have had a lot of arranging to do. Obviously this was not an issue with P&O but the Port Agent.

How’re things with John now?
Gill


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Whynd1 » 12 Oct 2019, 19:56

Thank you Carole.
I have already taken a few pointers from David's original report. Small things really but it's just knowing you have done what you can. Bought a new more modern phone,different chargers and have upgraded my insurance to a belt and braces one.

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Happydays » 12 Oct 2019, 23:31

I renewed our annual insurance in August and after reading David's original post and experiencing a detour for a tender evac I made a point in making sure we were cover for all emergencies,I thought we were but as said better to get it confirmed!
I read your reports as you posted them on your cruise and was very pleased that you were able to continue with the cruise, hope all is well with John.


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by CaroleF » 13 Oct 2019, 09:59

Thank you for your good wishes. At the moment we are waiting for the results of an MRI scan John had last week and for him to see a Neurophysiologist for nerve tests. He has an appointment a week on Wednesday for the nerve tests and then a week later to see the Neurologist who wanted him to have those tests. Hopefully at that point we shall know a bit more. He's finding the aching from the Polymyalgia very tiring and has been given some different analgaesics so hopefully they will help. For a man who is not used to being ill and not used to finding there are things he can't do it is very taxing, shall we say. Still at least we were able to complete the cruise. The first appointment with the Consultant Neurologist couldn't have been until the day we returned so we wouldn't have gained anything by returning earlier.

One thing I wanted to ask does anyone know if it's still possible to postpone a cruise that the deposit's been paid on providing it's within a year and costs more than the original booking? I looked in the Ts&Cs in the new brochure but I couldn't see anything about it. We have a cruise booked for February and the balance has to be paid half way through November so we may think of postponing if it's possible.

Carole

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by towny44 » 13 Oct 2019, 10:05

CaroleF wrote:
13 Oct 2019, 09:59

One thing I wanted to ask does anyone know if it's still possible to postpone a cruise that the deposit's been paid on providing it's within a year and costs more than the original booking? I looked in the Ts&Cs in the new brochure but I couldn't see anything about it. We have a cruise booked for February and the balance has to be paid half way through November so we may think of postponing if it's possible.

Carole
I think you can transfer the booking to another cruise normally within 12 months, including some other Carnival lines, as long as the cruise value is the same or higher, there is normally an administration charge of about £100, but this can be waived at P&O's discretion in some circumstances.
John

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by GillD46 » 13 Oct 2019, 10:11

Good to hear the MRI has been done. Sending best wishes for the results and for some relief for John.

Yes we have transferred a deposit recently, under the terms mentioned.
Gill

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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by Gill W » 13 Oct 2019, 16:39

Thanks for letting us know of your experiences and hopefully John will soon have answers as to what caused this. I'm glad you were able to carry on with the cruise. That cream tea you had in your cabin when you got back to the ship must have been blissful.

Apart from the worry of being ill, I would find the sense of abandonment very difficult to deal with, being out on your own, a long way from home when you are feeling vulnerable anyway and not getting much support from the port agent. Fortunately, you were in a country similar to the UK, where they speak the same language. The thought of this happening in a far flung port where they don't speak English is very scary
Gill


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Re: Medical Disembarkation

Post by CaroleF » 14 Oct 2019, 09:47

It is Gill, very scary. It's certainly making me re-think about long cruises. I love the longer ones but this experience has certainly made me think again. The thought of being the other side of the world and something like this happening doesn't bear thinking about. On the other hand we can't not do things just in case something happens. We were so lucky it was in a country like Canada and that the medical staff - and others - that we encountered were so helpful.

Carole

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