Why Global Rescue?

Global Rescue provides worldwide advisory, field rescue and evacuation services, in both medical and security emergencies. 

  • Field Rescue from point of illness or injury, no matter how remote
  • Evacuation to the home hospital of choice
  • Services provided up to $500,000
  • 24/7 advisory services from medical and security specialists
  • Medical oversight from specialists at Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Paramedics deployed to member's bedside
  • Memberships start at $119

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The latest on the Zika virus

  
  

zika

On 01 February 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern to initiate a coordinated international response to minimize the threat in affected countries and reduce the risk of international spread of the Zika virus.

The WHO found no public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to prevent the spread of Zika virus.

Here is the latest information on the Zika virus from the Global Rescue Medical Operations team.

How does someone become infected with the Zika virus?

Zika virus disease is an acute viral illness of humans transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes-species mosquito that has previously fed on a person infected with the Zika virus. There is also emerging evidence to suggest maternal – fetal transmission also may occur near the time of delivery, or late in pregnancy.

There are also isolated cases of transmission through sexual contact or blood transfusion.  The virus remains in the blood for about a week.  How long the virus remains in semen is currently not known.

What are the symptoms of the Zika virus?

Symptoms include sudden fever with rash, joint and body pain, headache and conjunctivitis. Symptoms are usually mild and last from several days to a week. Approximately 1 in 5 people infected with the Zika virus will develop symptoms.

What countries has Zika spread to? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following have active Zika virus transmission:

Americas: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, USVI, Venezuela.

Oceania/Pacific Islands: American Samoa, Samoa

Africa: Cape Verde

What is the risk for pregnant women?

Women who are infected with the Zika virus who are pregnant, or become pregnant, are at an increased risk of birth defects -- including microcephaly, an abnormal smallness of a newborn's head associated with incomplete neurological development. Emerging evidence suggests that maternal-fetal transmission also may occur near the time of delivery, or late in pregnancy.
 

What advice is there for pregnant women regarding Zika?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published guidelines regarding pregnancy and Zika here.  The CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:

--Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.

--Women trying to become pregnant or who are thinking about becoming pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

How can I protect myself against the Zika virus?

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease, and no medication available to treat Zika virus infection. Prevention of bites by infected Aedes-mosquitos is the only effective means of avoiding infection while traveling in regions where the Zika virus is present. 

Prevention techniques may include:

--Using insect repellents containing either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or certain oil of lemon-eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol products.

-- Application of sunscreen first and then insect repellent. (Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent or sunscreen.)

--Treating clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.

--When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

--Use air-conditioning, and window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your local accommodations, sleep under a mosquito bed net.

--  Reduce the number of mosquitoes inside and outside by emptying standing water from containers, such as flowerpots or buckets.

While the risk of Zika transmission through sex is low, the use of condoms should be considered as a precaution.

According to Public Health England, it is recommended that men should wear condoms for 28 days after return from a Zika transmission area if they experience no symptoms of Zika virus.  Condoms are recommended for six months “following recovery if a clinical illness compatible with Zika virus infection or laboratory confirmed Zika virus infection” has been reported.

What are the origins of the Zika virus?

The Zika virus was discovered in 1947 in Zika Forest, Uganda. The virus was found to be present in Uganda’s Rhesus monkey population and the Aedes africanus mosquito. The first humans infected with Zika virus disease were reported in the early 1950s in Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania. The virus remained endemic to parts of Africa and Asia, until an outbreak on Yap Island and French Polynesia in the South Pacific in 2007and 2013 respectively. Other Pacific Islands including New Caledonia, Cook Islands, and Easter Island have reported outbreaks of ZVD.

In October 2015 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published reports from the Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil which confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil. Further reports from Brazil in May 2015 reported that pregnant women who became infected with Zika virus disease had an increased risk of birth defects such as microcephaly.

Oahu, Hawaii, USA reported the first case of ZVD-related microcephaly in the United States. The infant’s mother had lived in Brazil during her pregnancy and the infant was likely infected within the womb, as hypothesized by both Hawaiian Department of Health officials and the U.S.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Download the Global Rescue mobile app to access detailed country-specific Destination Reports developed by our worldwide team of intelligence analysts.

Questions about the Zika virus? Contact Global Rescue at 617-459-4200 or memberservices@globalrescue.com.


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Zika virus: What you should know

  
  
Zika virus

With the Zika virus making headlines recently, it is no surprise that travelers are seeking information. To date, the virus has spread to several countries and territories in South and Central America and the Caribbean. There have been a small number of positive tests confirmed in the U.S., and in each case the patient or mother is believed to have picked up the virus abroad.

Global Rescue’s Medical Operations personnel answered some frequently asked questions regarding the Zika virus.

How does someone become infected with the Zika virus?

Zika virus disease is an acute viral illness of humans transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes-species mosquito that has previously fed on a person infected with the Zika virus. There is also emerging evidence to suggest maternal – fetal transmission also may occur near the time of delivery, or late in pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of the Zika virus?

Symptoms include sudden fever with rash, joint and body pain, headache and conjunctivitis. Symptoms are usually mild and last from several days to a week. Approximately 1 in 5 people infected with the Zika virus will develop symptoms.

What is the risk for pregnant women? 

Women who are infected with the Zika virus who are pregnant, or become pregnant, are at an increased risk of birth defects – including microcephaly, an abnormal smallness of a newborn’s head associated with incomplete neurological development.

What advice is there for pregnant women regarding Zika?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a list of countries with past or current Zika virus activity here. Their current guidance specifically notes, “… Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.” The CDC further advises women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, “should consult with their health care provider before traveling to these areas.”

Travelers who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider and determine the level of risk for microcephaly or other birth defects that they are willing to assume by traveling to areas with confirmed Zika virus disease activity (or adjacent locations).

How can I protect myself against the Zika virus?
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease, and no medication available to treat Zika virus infection. Prevention of bites by infected Aedes-mosquitos is the only effective means of avoiding infection while traveling in regions where the Zika virus is present. 

Prevention techniques may include:

--Using insect repellents containing either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or certain oil of lemon-eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol products.

-- Application of sunscreen first and then insect repellent. (Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent or sunscreen.)

--Treating clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.

--When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

--Use air-conditioning, and window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your local accommodations, sleep under a mosquito bed net.

--  Reduce the number of mosquitoes inside and outside by emptying standing water from containers, such as flowerpots or buckets.

What are the origins of the Zika virus?

The Zika virus was discovered in 1947 in Zika Forest, Uganda. The virus was found to be present in Uganda’s Rhesus monkey population and the Aedes africanus mosquito.The first humans infected with Zika virus disease were reported in 1954 in Nigeria. The virus remained endemic to parts of Africa and Asia, until an outbreak on Yap Island in the South Pacific in 2013. Other Pacific Islands including New Caledonia, Cook Islands, and Easter Island have reported outbreaks of ZVD.

In October 2015 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published reports from the Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil which confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil. Further reports from Brazil in May 2015 reported that pregnant women who became infected with Zika virus disease had an increased risk of birth defects such as microcephaly.

Oahu, Hawaii, USA reported the first case of ZVD-related microcephaly in the United States. The infant’s mother had lived in Brazil during her pregnancy and the infant was likely infected within the womb, as hypothesized by both Hawaiian Department of Health officials and the U.S.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Questions about the Zika virus? Contact Global Rescue at 617-459-4200 or Operations@globalrescue.com.


Attack on Istanbul: A worrisome trend

  
  

Istanbul, Blue Mosque

The tragic attack in Istanbul, Turkey, on 12 January 2016 raises many troubling questions. For an in-depth look at the situation, we spoke with Joseph Mroszczyk, Manager of Intelligence Products and Services at Global Rescue.

Q. What are the details of the Istanbul attack?

At approximately 10:15 local time on 12 January, an explosion in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul—an area of the city popular among tourists for its historic attractions—killed at least 10 people and injured 15 others in a suicide attack. According to reports, all ten of the people killed were German nationals and many of those injured were foreigners. Reports indicate that a Syrian man with ties to the terrorist group the Islamic State (IS) was behind the attack.

Q. Has violence in Turkey increased recently?

Violence in Turkey has escalated over the past six months, ever since the Turkish government ramped up its counterterrorism efforts to include an enhanced partnership with the United States to combat the Islamic State (IS). The Turkish government is currently combatting the PKK (a Kurdish separatist group), DHKP-C (Marxist militants), and IS. These groups have all demonstrated the desire and/or capability to carry out attacks in the country, including in Istanbul. Though many recent attacks have primarily targeted Turkish government and security facilities, such sites are often located near areas frequented by tourists.

Q. What other recent attacks have occurred in Istanbul?

This is the latest attack in what has been a string of attacks in Istanbul over the past year. In December alone there was a blast at the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, which killed one aircraft cleaner and injured another, and also an explosion at the Bayrampasa Metro Station which injured five people. There have also been other attacks at Dolmabahçe Palace, police stations, and the US Consulate in 2015. Further, Turkish authorities warned of possible threats to public transportation in Istanbul in July.

In addition, the capital of Turkey, Ankara, has also witnessed increased terrorist activity over the past few months. On 30 December, Turkish authorities announced they detained two suspects believed to be planning a suicide attack during New Year’s Eve celebrations in central Ankara. On 10 October, twin explosions during a demonstration near the city’s central train station killed nearly 100 people and injured 245.

Q. How are countries advising their citizens in the wake of this attack?

Many countries – such as Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States – issued security messages to their citizens in Istanbul after the attack. Most of these messages advised citizens to avoid the Sultanahmet district, follow the advice of local authorities, monitor local media for new developments, and maintain situational awareness and vigilance while traveling in the area.

Q. What does this attack mean for Turkey and for its tourists?

This recent attack—which is consistent with tactics associated with IS—represents another example of the deterioration of the security situation in Turkey over the past year. While the country’s southeastern border with Syria and Iraq has historically been a volatile region of the country, violence has recently spread to the streets of major cities like Ankara and Istanbul with devastating effects. Well-organized terrorist groups have demonstrated the intent and ability to carry out attacks against civilians in Turkey in retaliation for enhanced counterterrorism operations against their groups. Though many attacks in the past have specifically targeted Turkish government and/or security assets (particularly so among Kurdish and leftist militants), the recent trend of attacking civilian targets—including those popular among foreign tourists—represents a worrisome shift in terrorist tactics in the country. More attacks in the country, including in cities like Istanbul and Ankara, are likely.

Q. What advice can you offer for tourists in Turkey?

·         Avoid large crowds and demonstrations, which may be seen as ideal targets for terrorist groups.

·         Avoid using public transportation, which have also been seen as prime targets.

·         Maintain a low profile and avoid congregating with large groups of Westerners and other foreigners.

·         Maintain situational awareness at all times. Report suspicious behavior, activities, or objects to the authorities.

·         Expect an increased presence of security forces in Istanbul and in other cities around the country. These increased security measures may result in travel disruptions.

If you are currently traveling in Turkey or have questions about upcoming travel, contact Global Rescue Security Operations at 617-459-4200 or operations@globalrescue.com.

 

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Travel Risk and Crisis Management guidelines for academic institutions

  
  

travel risk and crisis management services, Global Rescue

In the wake of the $41.7 million Hotchkiss School verdict, Global Rescue CEO and Founder Dan Richards delivered a presentation at The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) annual conference to help schools and organizations meet their "Duty of Care" and "Duty to Disclose" requirements to reduce the risk adverse outcomes and resulting lawsuits from student travel and study abroad.

Richards began by relaying the story of Cara Munn, a teenager on the Hotchkiss School-sponsored trip to China, who fell ill with an insect-borne disease that was contracted while on a hike. A local clinic misdiagnosed her condition and she was transferred to a hospital in Beijing where it took weeks before she was flown to the United States. She permanently lost her ability to speak and some of her cognitive ability. Hotchkiss was ruled negligent by the court because they did not:   

 

  • Have an emergency action plan in place
  • Make advance arrangements to return any inured or ill students to the United States
  • Warn students they could be subject to insect-transmitted diseases
  • Ensure students took insect bite precautions
  • Include medical personnel on the trip

Richards cited an important statistic to the TABS audience: Travel comes with inherent risks: 1 out of 12 (8 percent) of travelers will seek care. He followed up with three major points:

 1. You have a legal duty of care to a person in your charge.

 2. You are open to a negligence suit if this is breached.

 3. The presence of a comprehensive “Emergency Action Plan” can significantly lower your liability.

TABS and Global Rescue – A New Alliance

In addition to the Preparedness 101 presentation, a new alliance between TABS and Global Rescue was announced at the meeting. Under the terms of the agreement, Global Rescue becomes the exclusive global medical and security evacuation provider to TABS, offering global travel risk and crisis management services.  TABS members benefit from Global Rescue’s worldwide medical and security response, travel risk, travel intelligence, and emergency action planning and training services. 

Here’s How Global Rescue Can Help Your School or Organization

For a comprehensive assessment and recommendation regarding a Travel Risk & Crisis Management Program for your school or organization, contact us.

 

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Holiday travel tips from a road warrior

  
  
holiday travel, Global Rescue

As the holiday travel season approaches, Global Rescue interviewed the most experienced travelers we know -- our very own Operations personnel. From remote corners of South Africa to the Himalayan mountains and the Great Wall of China, Global Rescue deploys our security and medical specialists around the world to assist our members. If anyone knows how to handle stressful travel, it’s this team.  

Drew Pache, a Senior Manager in our Security Operations Department and a former Green Beret, has some tips on staying safe and sane while on the road this holiday season.

  1. Pack a small first aid kit

Everywhere I go, I always bring at least a few basic supplies, including Band-Aids, tweezers, Ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol tablets, and some type of non-drowsy antihistamine. Super glue and a small sewing kit are great for keeping my clothes together in the field but can also be used on cuts in a pinch.

  1. Stay hydrated

Most of the time when I’m feeling under the weather, it’s because I haven’t consumed enough water. Got a headache? Drink water. Feeling tired? Drink water. I always take an empty water bottle through security when flying and fill it up on the other side at a water fountain or sink. I stay away from alcohol, too. While grabbing a couple of beers might make the long flight a little better, it’s not worth feeling dehydrated and hungover on the plane. This is especially true on international flights.

  1. Naps

I’m a huge fan of naps and will take one whenever I can. I’ve slept in planes, airports, vans, and the back of moving pickup trucks. I’ve learned a lot of things while at Global Rescue, but the ability to sleep anywhere is one of my favorites. So long as you keep it under 30 minutes, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready for whatever’s next. I carry around a cheap pair of foam earplugs to block out jet engines, crying babies, and anything else that will wake me up.

  1. Keep a good attitude

With so many people traveling at once, it’s always going to be difficult during the holidays. Getting stressed out isn’t going to make anything go faster. If your flight is delayed or even canceled, there’s no point in getting angry with the ticket agent since it’s not up to them when your flight takes off. In fact, just being nice to the ticket agent has gotten me more free upgrades than my frequent flier number ever has.

 

Keeping safe while traveling in Paris

  
  

Eiffel TowerAfter multiple terrorist attacks on Friday, the security situation in Paris is stabilizing as authorities are actively tracking down one individual alleged to have been involved in the attacks and others who potentially were involved. Tighter security at tourist sites, the airports, and borders may lead to delays for students, tourists, and businesspeople traveling, planning to travel, or living in Paris.

Paris is Open to Visitors                         

Paris is now getting back to normal with almost all major iconic cultural and tourist sites open, including the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. “Scheduled travel can proceed since the airports are open,” says Scott Hume, Associate Director of Security Response Services for Global Rescue. “There’s little threat of a follow-up attack. Paris will slowly return to normal with the next few days, but a heightened security presence will be in place indefinitely.”

Travel In and Out of Paris

The high-speed Eurostar trains between London and Paris were unusually empty this past weekend. Eurostar is advising travelers to “please allow for additional time to check in and complete all security checks before travel.” 

Most major airlines are now operating normally, going into and out of Paris. However, many carriers understand that some travelers feel uncomfortable and may want to reschedule their trips. Air France, United, and American Airlines have announced policies to accommodate people who bought tickets. Terms vary, but include the ability to waive change fees, allow passengers the opportunity to reschedule, apply the value of an original ticket towards a new ticket, postpone a trip, change your origin or destination, or cancel a trip entirely with a non-refundable voucher valid for one year.

 Heightened Security

“A high volume of police and security services have already begun their investigations around Paris,” says Scott Hume. If you’re scheduled to fly, you might want to give yourself extra time to get to the airport and to go through tightened security. Consider signing up for alerts from your carrier to receive instant notification on flight changes.

The threat of terrorism in Europe is not new, and countries across the continent have been actively engaged in both domestic and international counterterrorism operations for many years.  “These attacks unfortunately provide more evidence that travelers need to remain vigilant and have emergency plans in place, even in countries and cities that are commonly perceived to be safe,” says Joe Mroszczyk, Manager of Intelligence Products and Services at Global Rescue. “Countries that are participating in the bombing campaigns against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have an elevated risk for retaliatory attacks from the terrorist group and its sympathizers.” However, it is important to also keep in mind that, despite the Paris attacks, these types of mass casualty terrorist attacks in Europe are rare.

Recommendations for tourists, students, and business travelers in Paris

--Scheduled travel can proceed with no issues since airports remain open.

--There is little threat of a follow on terrorist attack. Within the next few days, Paris will slowly return to normal, albeit with a heightened security presence which will be in place indefinitely.  

--A high volume of police and security services will be conducting investigations around the city.

-- Maintain your ability to communicate -- program your cell phone with emergency numbers.

-- Vigilance needs to extend across the continent. This is no longer simply a problem for Paris or for France; it is potentially a problem for all of Europe. No matter where you travel, there is reason to be vigilant.

-- Do not use public transportation at the height of day when most people travel.

-- Avoid big crowds or large events.

   

LEARN MORE
   

Adventure Cycling Association partners with Global Rescue for Medical Advisory and Evacuation Services

  
  
Global Rescue, cycling, Adventure Cycling Association

Biking is a healthy, environmentally sound, and inherently safe activity practiced by millions of enthusiasts each year. Nonetheless, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported over 48,000 bike injuries across the U.S. in 2013. The total cost, estimated by the National Safety Council, exceeded $4 billion.

Protection for When Things Go Wrong on the Road

As with any form of cycling, whether it’s a leisurely afternoon ride across the neighborhood, a 412 mile road trip climb up California’s Pacific Coast Highway, or a 2000’ descent through Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains, there exists a level of risk. To help meet that risk, Global Rescue announced a partnership with the Adventure Cycling Association, North America’s largest non-profit membership bicycling organization. Partnering with Global Rescue allows Adventure Cycling members to manage that risk with access to Global Rescue’s medical advisory and medical and security evacuation services.

Bicycle tourists want peace of mind, knowing that there is help if things go wrong on the road,” said Global Rescue CEO Dan Richards. He added, “The Adventure Cycling Association’s focus on inspiring travel by bicycle is exactly the type of organization that aligns with Global Rescue.”

Life-Saving Resource for Adventure Cycling Members

Demonstrating its commitment to Adventure Cycling members’ safety, the Adventure Cycling Association will subsidize a portion of the Global Rescue membership fee for its members. “As Adventure Cycling works to grow bicycle travel in the United States, we strive to provide our members, and the bicycle travel community, with access to the highest quality resources,” said Brian Bonham of the Adventure Cycling Association. He added, “Whether traveling cross country or across town, cyclists all over the world can benefit from the life-saving resources and services that Global Rescue provides.”

The Premier Bicycle-Travel Organization in North America

Established in 1973 as Bikecentennial, the American Cycling Association is the premier bicycle-travel organization in North America, with more than 40 years of experience, and 48,000 members. Providing national support for bicycle travel, implementing an official Bicycle Route System (with more than 50,000 miles of routes), and partnering with national, state, and local organizations to build bicycle tourism are just a few of American Cycling Association’s activities; helping to cultivate public awareness of the health, economic, environmental, and transportation benefits improving cycling infrastructure are among others.

“With its passion for bicycle tourism, the Adventure Cycling Association has been inspiring active lifestyles for 40 years,” said Global Rescue CEO Dan Richards. “We fully support Adventure Cycling and its members in their adventures on the road.”

Global Rescue wants to hear about your cycling passion too. Readers…tell us about a “wheel” adventure that you’ve experienced.

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Giraffe attack!

  
  

 

Video of the giraffe that attacked Daniel Core, seconds before the incident

“I saw the giraffe pick up his right hoof and I thought, ‘he’s going to kill me.’”

While driving to their hotel inside Zimbabwe’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Daniel and Laura Core’s guide spotted two giraffes walking near the path. “The guide told us that it was OK to get out of the cart and take pictures,” said Daniel. “We were just filming the giraffes, didn’t get too close, and out of the corner of my eye is a really big giraffe coming from the opposite direction.”

An experienced veterinarian, Daniel was familiar with the signs of a hostile animal. “He didn’t lay his ears back, didn’t stomp, didn’t blow or anything like that. He just walked his way slowly up the game trail,” Daniel recalled.  

Laura, Daniel’s wife, began filming the bull giraffe as it approached.

Run!

When the giraffe was 20 yards away, Daniel’s guide picked up a branch and waved it in the air to scare it away. “About 30 seconds after that, I walked up to see what was going on. I heard our guide scream ‘Run!’” remembered Daniel. “In Africa, when your guide screams ‘run,’ it’s bad.”

Bull Giraffe Attack

The giraffe took one more step and swung its head “like a wrecking ball,” catching Daniel in the chest. The impact lifted Daniel into the air and threw him onto a pile of rocks. “I’ve been hit by bulls and kicked by horses, and I played football all through college. But, I’ve never been hit that hard in all my life,” he said.

Ten feet away, Laura was lying on the ground, “playing dead” so the giraffe would not attack her. “I saw the giraffe pick up his right hoof and I thought, ‘he’s going to kill,’” Daniel recalled. “Fortunately, my wife had dropped her purse about a foot and a half away from her torso. What the giraffe had his eye on was the poor purse. He came down on it and it just exploded.”

Daniel scrambled to his feet, grabbed his wife, and rushed to the cart. The guide gunned the engine and the three raced down the path.

After escaping the giraffe, Daniel took stock of his injuries. “I had about a three inch cut on my head and I could tell big contusions and bruises were coming.”

An Emergency Call to Global Rescue

Daniel and Laura went to the game reservation’s clinic to get patched up. With basic medical facilities and a registered nurse as the only healthcare options, Daniel turned to Global Rescue. He took pictures of all his injuries and emailed them to the Global Rescue Operations team.

Global Rescue’s medical team immediately reviewed his injuries and provided medical advice. Global Rescue’s team of physicians determined that there were no broken bones, no blood in his lungs, and no symptoms of a head injury. Daniel lucked out. He was bruised, but he’d be fine.

The Cores took another cart to their hotel room. “Right before we arrived at the hotel room, guess who’s standing there, straddling the path? The giraffe.” Fortunately, this time the Cores were able to pass by the giraffe without any conflict.

Everything Ends Well

“I was very happy and pleased with the way Global Rescue handled my case. I’m a small animal veterinarian and I deal with bad stuff all the time, but I don’t know everything. I felt like I was in good hands and that, if I needed anything, Global Rescue would be able to handle it.  Everything ended well.” said Daniel.

Undaunted by the giraffe attack, the Cores continued their vacation through Africa. “Everywhere we went, people would ask, ‘did you hear about the American couple that got attacked by the giraffe?’” Daniel recalled. “We’d say, ‘yes, we’re intimately associated with them.’” 

Giraffe attack, Global Rescue

 

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A life-threatening medical emergency during an anniversary trip to the Great Wall

  
  

Global Rescue, Yangtze, Abrams, medical evacuation

Barbara and Jed Abrams celebrating on the Yangtze

For their 42nd anniversary, Barbara and Jed Abrams traveled to China for what was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime. Unfortunately, three weeks into the trip, just prior to walking along the Great Wall and one day before the end of their trip, Jed Abrams suddenly collapsed. Pale and dizzy, he was rushed for treatment to a local emergency room and then to a hospital in Beijing owned by an American company.

“The emergency room doctor told me that if Jed had gotten on a plane to return home, it was highly unlikely he would make it off the plane alive,” Barbara said.

The Abramses’ tour director immediately reported the event to the couple’s travel insurance carrier. However, Barbara did not receive the prompt response that would have helped her. She was alone in an unfamiliar city, and no one else spoke English except for the doctors, nursing staff and staff at her hotel. Everyone else was speaking a language she didn’t understand, and Barbara felt lost.

“When my husband collapsed without warning at the Great Wall and landed in a hospital where he needed, among other things, four units of blood, I was stranded, alone and frightened more than I had ever been in my life,” said Barbara. “[I was] relying upon Chinese taxi cab drivers to get me to and from the hospital and hotel. The rides were 45 minutes of harrowing in-and-out kamikaze moments tinged with pure terror as we navigated looming buses, cars, motorcycles and weaving pedestrians.”

After waiting two days for her insurance company to help and still no response, Barbara turned to Global Rescue.

Global Rescue immediately launched into action, deploying personnel from its Bangkok Operations Center. “In three hours, Global Rescue had reviewed Jed’s medical file with doctors at Johns Hopkins, assuring me they would take over responsibility for Jed’s care and arrange for his return to the U.S.,” said Barbara. “I wept with relief. Global Rescue did what they said they would.”

Global Rescue deployed a member of their critical care transport team to Beijing to assist the Abramses. Global Rescue also arranged for a van and English-speaking “fixer” for Barbara to get back and forth between the hotel and hospital, ending her series of terrifying cab rides.  

Global Rescue, Abrams

The couple enjoying a rickshaw ride

“Once Global Rescue arrived at the hospital in Beijing, they took over immediately and made all the arrangements. It was as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders,” Barbara said.  “As a result, my energies could then be focused solely on my husband’s and my emotional needs.”

A few days later, Jed was stabilized and certified as fit to fly by Global Rescue physicians. Global Rescue arranged for three seats on a flight from Beijing to Seattle, Washington, with a member Global Rescue transport team continuing to monitor Jed’s condition throughout the flight.

When airport security sought to prevent the group from bringing medical equipment onto the plane, Global Rescue’s paramedic stated clearly and firmly that he was Jed’s lifeline, and that he would not have his patient put at risk. Ultimately, security allowed everyone to board the plane with the necessary medical supplies.

“After much back and forth, he prevailed,” Barbara wrote about the incident. “Never once did he raise his voice or telegraph any contentiousness.”

In Seattle, the Abramses boarded their final flight back to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they met with a hospitalist who supervised further testing and treatment at their local hospital’s emergency room. Upon their safe return home, Barbara wrote to thank Global Rescue, praising the responding paramedic. “His quiet resolve and professionalism made it happen.”

Canadian Rockies, Abrams

Barbara and Jed at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies in 2013

 

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After a plane crash in Myanmar, the long road to recovery

  
  

 

Allan Lokos, Global Rescue, Susanna Weiss

(Courtesy of Fox News)

On Christmas Day 2012, Allan Lokos and his wife, Susanna Weiss, boarded a plane in Myanmar headed to Inle Lake, a popular tourist destination in the heart of the Shan Plateau and home to the Shwe Indein Pagoda – a white-washed stupa that enshrines a Buddha image and is surrounded by hundreds of ancient stupas.   The couple, who run a meditation center in New York City, were drawn to the region for its many temples and monasteries. 

Their lives changed forever when something went wrong during their approach for landing. The plane crashed short of the runway, broke into pieces and burst into flames.  Miraculously, Allan and Susanna somehow survived the impact and managed to pull themselves out of the wreckage through the fire and debris.  Both were badly injured, Allan critically.  Local rescue teams arrived shortly after the crash and rushed them and other survivors to a nearby clinic.

Susanna suffered broken vertebrae, and feared for Allan’s survival.  “I was told by the doctors that Allan was not going to make it,” she recalled. 

Myanmar, Global Rescue, medical evacuation

Allan’s injuries were life-threatening. He was in critical condition, with severe burns over 33% of his body including his head, face, neck, and hands. Not surprisingly, his injuries were well beyond the capabilities of the local clinic in rural Myanmar. 

Global Rescue was contacted by the couple’s tour operator and immediately coordinated the dispatch of an aircraft to transport Allan and Susanna to Bangkok, Thailand, for treatment at one of the best hospitals in the region. Global Rescue paramedic personnel deployed from the company’s Bangkok Operations Center met the couple at the hospital, where Allan was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

Once the extent of Allan’s injuries became clear, Global Rescue’s medical team consulted with Johns Hopkins Medicine specialists and determined that, given the severity of his burns, a transfer to the top burn center in Asia, located in Singapore, would give Allan the best possible chances in his fight for survival.

What followed was an evacuation by private, medically equipped ICU aircraft while Allan drifted in and out of consciousness.  While his memories of the flight and his admittance to the Singapore burn unit are spotty due to the trauma and treatment, which included several skin graft surgeries, Allan later recalled the comfort of seeing Global Rescue personnel outside his hospital room around the clock.

Global Rescue’s medical team and partners at Johns Hopkins remained in close contact with the Singapore physicians, overseeing Allan’s additional skin graft surgeries.

Knowing that Allan could decline rapidly from the severity of his burns, Susanna faced another extremely difficult choice: whether to move Allan home to the U.S. or keep him in Singapore for long-term treatment. She knew that with burns, in particular, the danger of infection is the biggest risk.  “I’ve kept him alive so far with the choices I’ve made,” Susanna pondered.  She decided to move forward with his transport home.

Allan Lokos, Global Rescue

(Courtesy of Allan Lokos)

Global Rescue transported Allan by ICU equipped air ambulance back to his home country hospital in New York City during a brief window when he was deemed stable enough to survive the journey.  Allan was stable throughout and the aircraft landed in New York without incident.  While their travels had finally had ended, both Allan and Susanna knew a long road to recovery awaited.

Susanna, now fitted with an orthopedic back brace, faced her own troubling medical issues, compounded by the psychological trauma of the crash and the physical toll of dealing with Allan’s care.  “I hardly had a life during that time,” she said. “All I would do is go back and forth to my apartment late at night, kind of fall asleep, and go back early in the morning to the hospital.”  She is still recovering from her injuries.

Two months after being admitted to a hospital in New York, Allan was released. Despite the homecoming, he was despondent. “That’s when you would think that finally things are going to return to some kind of normality, and it was anything but. I remember constantly thinking that I wanted my life back,” said Allan. “It was, for both of us, the most depressing time of our lives.  I came home 25 pounds lighter off of an in-shape frame. I was incredibly weak. I had no use of my hands at that time. There was literally nothing I could do for myself; I was totally dependent.”

Allan is the founder and guiding teacher of The Community Meditation Center in New York City.  He had practiced meditation for many years, studying with such renowned teachers as Thich Nhat Hanh, and ultimately visited Myanmar to enhance his spiritual practice and teaching.

Susanna partially credits Allan’s recuperation during this difficult period to his writing his book, Through the Flames: Overcoming Disaster through Compassion, Patience, and Determination. “Like the trauma therapy saved me, his writing saved him. He’s a teacher at heart, so he felt he would have something to offer.  That was his salvation,” Susanna said.

Allan’s spiritual training was instrumental in his physical and mental recovery. “The mental recovery was more difficult because that’s when things were really awful,” he noted. “On the physical side, literally from the moments right after the crash and then for the next two months, much of the time I was drugged, in shock, and not cognizant at all of things that were happening.  I have memories of very unpleasant procedures but physical pain is temporal. It can be very difficult but then it fades.” He noted, “I never have dealt with questions like ‘why me?’ or ‘why did this happen to me?’ and I think that was and continues to be a major part of why I’ve healed as well as I have.”

Despite their ordeal, Allan and Susanna have no reservations about traveling again. “I don’t think that we should alter our lives because of fear. I think we should be aware of what we’re doing, but I wouldn’t back away from something I wanted to do just out of fear,” said Allan.

Susanna said, “I don’t deny that the crash happened and that it has its effects, but I also don’t want that to determine how I live my life.” 

In fact, Allan and Susanna traveled to Africa in 2015, their first trip outside the United States since the plane crash.  

Susanna concluded: “At a time when I couldn’t handle anything else, there was nothing like the military calm of Global Rescue’s personnel. How could I have handled our evacuation? Even if I weren’t taking care of Allan all the time, I wouldn’t know how to do that. What was done was so competent, so steady.   I am grateful that they were there for us.”  

Allan Lokos, Susanna Weiss, Global Rescue(Courtesy of Fox News)

 

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