September 16, 2020

COVID-19 Case Study: Injured Canadian Stuck in Spain Brought Home Safely

A bucket-list trip to Spain was everything 79-year-old Petra* and her husband Roman* hoped it would be until she suffered a hip fracture during one of their outings. After getting Petra to the hospital, Roman contacted Allianz Global Assistance, who immediately stepped in to help coordinate her care, obtain medical records, arrange direct billing, and more.

A week after her surgery, Petra was well enough to travel back to Canada, and Allianz began arranging for the couple to travel on a commercial flight with a registered nurse (RN) to help care for Petra during the trip. Following the announcement of a country-wide lockdown due to COVID-19, the airline advised Allianz that it could not enter Spain. The original itinerary was cancelled, and the airline proposed a new one.

That same day, Allianz learned that the RN would not be able to travel with Petra and Roman into Canada. Canada, like Spain and many other countries, had closed its borders to noncitizens. After checking with several other airlines, Allianz determined that none had RNs with dual citizenship who could accompany the couple.

Allianz reached out to the Canadian Embassy for support and worked with the Allianz office in Spain to continue the search for a workable option. Allianz also began arranging for an air ambulance to return Petra and Roman to Canada, just in case.

By then, the hospital where Petra was being treated was expressing concerns that she might contract COVID-19 if she remained there, so she was discharged from the hospital and Petra and her husband waited at their hotel for a flight confirmation.

Meanwhile, Allianz learned that most air ambulance providers were requiring proof of negative COVID-19 test results before they would transport a patient. Due to Spanish regulations and the fact that Petra was no longer in hospital, she was unable to have this test.

Allianz managed to locate an air ambulance provider that didn’t require proof of negative COVID-19 test results, but the flight was scheduled for two days after the hotel where Petra and Roman were staying was to close. Further, the next day, the air ambulance company informed Allianz that it would not be able to make the flight because the crew would not be able to leave the plane during stops for refuelling and maintenance checks, or find safe accommodations in the area.

Reaching out to air ambulance providers once again, Allianz found one that could pick up the couple; however, they would need to make the trip with another Allianz customer from the United States. The other customer’s spouse agreed to the request, and Allianz in Canada and the U.S. worked together to finalize the details.

The next day, Petra and Roman returned home. When Allianz called to see how Petra was doing, the couple confirmed that she was recovering well.

* Name has been changed to maintain confidentiality.