Second thing: Internationally, hospitals and air ambulances are nests of red tape
Great, you made it to the hospital. You’re going to live. Now, about that logical next step of getting the hell out and going home? Not so fast.
“Facilities (in some countries) don’t like to transfer people out,” says Gobbels. “They like to keep people hospitalized there as long as possible because the longer people are there, the more money they make. It becomes difficult when people want to hold patients.”
So even if you get a hold of your home physician, and that doctor says to release you back to a US hospital, that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen -- the local doctors will have the final say. Unless you decide to overrule them, in which case things can go back to being exciting in a bad way.
If you can leave under your own power, sure, no problem, jump on a plane home. But if you need dedicated medical aircraft to get you home, sometimes the government won’t allow overnight visas for the medical personnel to come in and get you.
“This happens in China a lot,” says Gobbels. “We’ve had some transfers where they will not allow air ambulance to stay overnight. So we have to get air ambulances to stage outside the country overnight, then fly in and fly back out.
“Nobody thinks about that when you’re on a tour over there, and it’s great,” he adds. “But sometimes you have to call all these visa offices and get the US government involved just to get someone out of the country. It helps having somebody who knows what they’re doing.”