Treating the Root Cause: Misdiagnosis Leads to Life Saving Treatment

Jun 21, 2010, 12:14 ET from MediCare International

LONDON, June 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Conflicts and wars not only take their toll on human lives, but also on the local environment. Whilst much publicity is focused on International efforts to help rebuild Afghanistan's economy and social structures, less well known is the - often voluntary - work going on to rebuild the environment, part of which involves the planting of millions of trees, as a more green environment helps to improve the dusty landscape damaged by years of fighting. More greenery also means cleaner air.

The scale of environmental impacts caused by a conflict depends often on the duration of combat and the state of industrial development in the country prior to the conflict. The war in Afghanistan has lasted many years, if the Russian conflict is included. Wide scale destruction and damage to forests, water supplies, soil and wildlife has reduced the productive capacity of the countryside, and undermined both food security and the sustainable human livelihoods. If left unaddressed these environmental problems will undermine the economic reconstruction process and lead to further instability as people fight for scarce resources. The work of organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme and their associated volunteer staff is therefore very important in any post conflict reconstruction situation.

One volunteer, Mr. Knowles got more than he bargained for whilst working in Afghanistan as a reforestation expert. In his early sixties, fit and healthy, one morning whilst going about his duties, he suddenly started to feel unwell. Following normal procedures, using his international healthcare policy, he contacted his insurer, MediCare International, who arranged for him to be taken in the first instance to see a local doctor. Despite tests, they were unable to diagnose the problem. Mr. Knowles' condition ten began to deteriorate further, so after a further call to Medicare International's 24 hour Assistance Provider, an evacuation was arranged to Dubai where a more sophisticated diagnosis could take place.

Dubai was chosen as is the nearest country with world-class healthcare facilities and Mr. Knowles was rushed to the diagnostics department at one of its leading hospitals. After an extensive examination, he was found to have severe carbon monoxide poisoning, thought to have been caused by a faulty water heater in his accommodation. In a strange twist of fate, the same tests also uncovered severe blockage of the arteries, which led to Mr. Knowles needing urgent triple heart by-pass surgery.

The total cost of this life-saving treatment was close to GBP60,000, which included a flight back to Afghanistan for Mr. Knowles after he had recovered, so he could continue with his environmental reconstruction work.

David Pryor, Senior Executive Director at Medicare International said: "Mr. Knowles' remarkable story demonstrates the importance of having high quality comprehensive medical insurance when expatriates are working in some of the most difficult terrains. In this instance, purely by chance, the Doctors were able to find and diagnose a life threatening issue which would probably never have been found if Mr. Knowles had stayed in Afghanistan, as he had no idea just how ill he was. The well-being of our policyholders is our prime concern, and we will always do our utmost to ensure they receive the best treatment, wherever they are in the world at any time of the day or night. Our ability to offer insurance cover in this "passive war" environment was also critical, as many policies would not have been able to do this. We were delighted to have been able to provide assistance in returning him back to Afghanistan to continue his valuable work in the region."

For details of MediCare's International health insurance plans visit http://www.medicare.co.uk, email medicare@medicare.co.uk or call +44(0)20-7204-3700.

Note to Editors

MediCare International has been speaking fluent healthcare for over 25 years ensuring simple, quick access to the best health facilities for expatriates of all nationalities living or working abroad and protection against the costs of inpatient and outpatient medical treatment. Currently, MediCare International has clients in 114 countries worldwide of 86 different nationalities.

MediCare specialises in designing flexible medical insurance cover backed up with the assurance of 24-hour emergency medical assistance for clients and their families. Help, advice and support are only a telephone call away where trained professionals can authorise treatment/settle bills direct with medical facilities, or arrange medical evacuation when necessary - wherever you are in the world. Most medical bills are refunded within 10 days, making this one of the fastest settlement times in the industry.

MediCare International were one of the first insurers to offer genuine chronic care costs cover, so clients with long term medication costs can rest assured knowing they will be covered.

Cover under group plans is also available to most local nationals. Discounted group rates start with just 3 lives and full medical history disregarded exemptions are available on groups of 10 and over, making Medicare one of the most competitive staff cover providers.

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    Guy Stephenson/Jenny Duffy
    Nacelle Limited
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SOURCE MediCare International