Against the vast and challenging backdrop of the international waters, health emergencies may suddenly and unexpectedly arise. This was the case in a recent event that took place off the Spanish coast, where a vessel on the high seas became the setting of an emergency medical operation that required a rapid and coordinated approach. This incident highlights the importance of cooperation between different factors in critical situations, proving how Iris Global’s extensive international assistance network was able to save a person’s limb and, possibly, their life.
The story began when a member of the vessel’s crew suffered a traumatic amputation of their right hand while at sea. Such was the seriousness of the situation that an immediate evacuation and transfer to a hospital was required in order to perform a surgical reattachment.
However, the distance, the remote location of the vessel, and the need to manage the situation confidentially for safety reasons due to the patient’s professional activity, posed a challenge. The complexity of the operation required flawless coordination between various entities, from the 112 emergency number service to the maritime rescue team and the surgical team.
Public-private cooperation, the key to success
The first stage of the operation involved a thorough triage effort. Iris Global worked closely with the Spanish emergency services, specifically with the Spanish Maritime Rescue Society, in order to coordinate the patient’s evacuation. Ensuring that the amputated limb was kept in optimum conditions for its reattachment was a priority, so speed and effectiveness were crucial to the evacuation. This first step underlines the importance of smooth communication and cooperation between government bodies and private organisations at times of crisis.
Once the transfer to the hospital was secured, the next challenge was to find an experienced surgeon who was qualified to perform the surgical reattachment. Here is where fortune smiled on the coordination team: a highly renowned Spanish plastic surgeon, known for his leadership in innovative surgical procedures across the globe, was available and at a nearby location. This coincidence not only made the process easier, but also increased the surgery’s chance of success.
Lastly, thanks to the quick intervention, the effective coordination, and the medical expertise available, the surgical reattachment was successful. The patient was able to recover their hand thanks to the plastic surgeon’s dexterity and to the joint efforts of everyone involved in the operation. This case emphasises the importance of having a sound international assistance network and expert coordination team in emergencies, and it shows that interdisciplinary collaboration and rapid response can make the difference.
This case is the perfect example of something that no one would like to ever happen, but which, unfortunately, could happen to anyone. When travelling abroad, international travel insurance is crucial in order to receive the necessary assistance in the most unexpected circumstances. In this way, the insured person is not only protected from any eventuality, but also has the much-needed peace of mind to properly enjoy their stay.
As an expert in comprehensive assistance, Iris Global is the perfect partner for companies that look forward to providing their insured persons the safety of its wide and consolidated healthcare and support network around the world. “We are proud of our teams’ work and of the response on the part of the administrations,” declared Dr Susana de La Fuente of Iris Global. “Our extensive assistance experience and good relations with institutions, as well as a rigorous processing of confidential data, have been key in the development of such a sensitive intervention,” she added.