Repatriation from South Africa to United Kingdom

The situation

A man on holiday in South Africa had been admitted to hospital with heart failure and pneumonia. After heart valve replacement surgery, his health unfortunately continued to deteriorate, although he was being given excellent care by the hospital. Acting on behalf of his insurer, Charles Taylor Assistance was asked to bring him back to the UK for further treatment, just as soon as he was able to travel. 

In the meantime, we liaised with his treating doctors to oversee his care, arranged local accommodation for his wife and constantly kept in touch with her to offer reassurance.

The challenges

The man was so unwell that he would need an air ambulance to get home. But by the time he was considered fit to fly, the world was in full Covid-lockdown, making it hard not just to secure the air ambulance but also to fly out of South Africa, arrange permits to enter countries on the way home, organise refuelling stops during the long journey and book a coveted hospital bed in the UK.

The solution

After enlisting the help of the British High Commission and director of civil aviation in South Africa, we had soon arranged a two-stage air ambulance transfer for the patient back to the UK with our trusted providers, and managed all necessary Covid administration. The journey involved a seamless ‘wing-to-wing transfer’ (2 planes parked next to each other) to minimise time on the ground: all meticulously overseen by the highly-skilled team of intensive care medics who escorted the patient home. 

The final piece in the jigsaw was a hospital bed in the UK - and we’d talked to the receiving hospital at length to make sure this would be ready and waiting for the patient.

The outcome

“A big thank you to everyone for helping us through it all,” said the patient’s appreciative wife when he arrived safely back in the UK. His medical escort had taken him right to his hospital bed and his receiving doctors had been fully briefed on his condition.

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