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Saturday, August 25, 2012

A cautionary tale

Behind one of those windows of the Princess Alexandria Hospital in Brisbane lies my friend Manfred Richter. He went to the Hideaway Island Resort in Vanuatu, and five days into his ten-day trip fell off the stairs to the restaurant and broke his wrist and hip.

It took another five days in a Vanuatu hospital to stabilise him and to find out what's wrong with him and to arrange a flight back to Brisbane. Of course, the hospital wouldn't let him go until he had paid their bill of $16,000 and, as he had taken out no travel insurance, it took quite a bit of financial acrobatics to arrange finance through the local WESTPAC bank. Then VIRGIN wouldn't fly him out as he was a stretcher case. Luckily, AIR VANUATU came to his rescue as a special medical evacuation flight would have cost another $50,000.

By the time he was in the Brisbane hospital, his kidneys had got infected and for a week he was in an induced coma in the Intensive Care Unit. The hospital had even called his family from Sydney as they thought he wouldn't make it.

I phoned him at the hospital this morning where he was again amongst the living and sounding cheerful enough to enjoy the attention of all those attractive young nurses.

The moral of the story? Don't leave home without travel insurance!