(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) There has been a difficult epidemiological situation in Central America for the last months due to COVID -19. But what if a seafarer who was disembarked from a vessel in Panama with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has to get home to another part of the world?
In such a situation, a shipowner contacted Global Voyager Assistance regarding medical assistance for the seafarer.
Panama went into lockdown, so air traffic has been almost stopped, with only a few humanitarian flights available, mainly to the United States of America. So first, GVA team had to make their best so that the Doctor could get to the patient, to examine his condition and assess the possibility of medical evacuation by a regular flight accompanied by a GVA medical specialist. To dock inbound and outbound flights to and from Panama in shortest time frames due to the local flights and traveling restrictions Doctor had only 3 hours to solve all the necessary medical issues and deliver the patient by ambulance to the airplane. Despite the tough time trouble, our specialist acted professionally resolving all questions with local Spanish speaking representatives.
The next step was the evacuation to India. Entering the second worst-affected country by COVID-19 was an incredibly difficult task. India was on a strict lockdown, totally closed for foreigners and even Indian citizens had to get a prior authorization to back home. There were heavy deadlines and complicated issues but GVA managed to obtain a special permission from Indian authorities and exceptional visa for GVA Doctor based on the Essential workforce status. The seafarer had to be transported to the city of Patna. Given the mandatory two-week quarantine for all passengers upon arrival in India, the accompanying doctor from Panama could not continue with the patient after reaching New Delhi. Thus, GVA organized a medical escort change on the way to Patna with a local GVA Indian Doctor.
It was necessary to coordinate the actions of all persons involved in the evacuation during 24 hours of this mission. We held negotiations with various government agencies in five countries. As a result, the evacuation was performed precisely as planned. It’s worth emphasizing that at the New Delhi airport GVA medical crew had even less time than in Panama for immigration formalities, for meeting each other and handing the patient over. We had to dock flights minute by minute. But everything was carried out without any delay. And a few hours later he was taken to the Patna hospital, where he was met by his family.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, GVA has already organized more than 100 medical evacuations globally. Challenges motivate us to work harder and get better, proving that there is nothing impossible.
Please feel free to address your questions to GVA - Global Voyager Assistance
For similar extraordinary medical evacuation case, click HERE