Tuberculosis in Texas

Roshan*, a 20-year old exchange student from Sri Lanka, began to experience difficulty breathing. School officials rushed him to the local emergency room, where he underwent extensive testing and was put on a device to help him breathe.

A nurse called Assist America, and our medical coordinator conferred with the doctors at the hospital. Test results showed he had swelling and fluid in his lungs, and that one of his kidneys was failing. He was also cytopenic—meaning his number of blood cells was reduced—so a bone marrow biopsy was performed. Based on the results, the treating doctors and Assist America medical directors concurred that Roshan was suffering from tuberculosis in his lymph nodes, and that it was affecting several of his organs: he would need surgery.

The hospital in Texas was fully capable of performing the necessary procedures, and within a day, their expert doctors removed Roshan’s spleen and kidney along with a portion of his pancreas. He recuperated for several days, and then needed to be moved to a long-term care facility for recovery. We made arrangements for admission for Roshan to a respected facility and provided medically- attended ground transport.

After nearly two weeks, Roshan was breathing well on his own and stable enough for travel, but he was still debilitated. Assist America arranged and paid for Roshan to travel home to Sri Lanka via commercial airliner with a medical escort and wheelchair assistance at both airports. He was delivered safely into the care of his family and personal physician, and made a full recovery.

Unconscious in the City of Light

Angela*, a 20-year old student, got a “dream” birthday present from her parents: a two-week trip to Paris in the spring. She and two good friends took in several days of the warmth and beauty of “The City of Light” before an afternoon sightseeing trip took a turn for the worst. Attempting to give her friends the best possible angle to photograph her with a Paris landmark in the background, Angela climbed atop a sizeable wall to pose. But within seconds she lost her balance and fell, tumbling more than 13 feet down and landing head-first onto the concrete. Her friends called for local emergency response for their unconscious companion, and she was rushed to the hospital. Then they called Assist America.

We consulted with the treating doctors, and found that Angela had significant head injuries, including swelling of the brain; the medical team had put her into a drug-induced coma. She was receiving excellent care, but it was clear she would need several weeks’ recovery time, so we immediately arranged for her mother to fly to her bedside. Eventually, Angela regained consciousness and after a few weeks had recuperated enough to return home. Since she was still debilitated, we arranged for her to fly home in upgraded seating on a commercial flight with her mother. She arrived safely in Kansas and continued her convalescence.

Blood Disorder in Dominica

Callie*, a college student studying in Dominica, sought medical attention when a laceration she sustained complicated into a blood disorder. An administrator from her university called Assist America, and we immediately contacted her treating doctor for a full report. After evaluating her situation and the local treatment facilities, we determined that she would need to be evacuated at once to Miami, Florida, for proper care. There was a challenge: The only airport on the island closed at sundown. Luckily, because of Assist America’s vast resources, we were able to activate an air ambulance and coordinate admittance for Callie into one of the best hospitals in Miami prior to transport. She arrived there safely and we monitored her condition and treatment. After a few days, she was ready to go home to Blaine, Minnesota, for rehabilitation. Assist America arranged and paid for that trip on a commercial flight.

Painful in Poland—Blood Clot

Joy*, a 22-year old student, was visiting Poland with her parents when she began experiencing pain and swelling in her arm. Her father took her to a hospital in a nearby town called Poznan and contacted Assist America.

We immediately consulted with her treating doctors and began monitoring her care. Her diagnosis was a blood clot that had formed in a previously-fractured rib and moved into her arm. The hospital was able to provide a high level of care and perform the necessary procedures—a clot-dissolving catheterization and removal of the causative rib. The surgery was successful and after a few days Joy was ready to be discharged for home.

Though she was on the mend, Joy had her arm in a sling and needed help to travel. Assist America arranged and paid for her to fly home in upgraded seating on a commercial airline, with a non-medical escort. We also arranged wheelchair transport at each airport.

Joy departed in the morning and arrived safely in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the same evening.

Panic attack in Uganda

Michelle* was in Uganda for a study abroad program. Shortly after beginning her studies there, she began experiencing severe panic attacks and anxiety which was causing her to have heart palpitations. Unsure as to why she was having these issues or how to treat them, she called Assist America for help.

The medical coordinator that Michelle spoke to was able to find her a local hospital where she could go to seek treatment. She went to see a doctor later that day. The doctor advised her that he thought her symptoms were a result of the anti-malaria drugs she was taking and that she should discontinue use to alleviate her symptoms. Since anti-malaria drugs need to be started prior to travel, it was not possible to start her on another medication and without preventative measures it was deemed too dangerous for her to stay in Uganda and risk contracting the disease. Assist America arranged and paid for her to fly home via commercial carrier the next day so that she could continue her studies back home in Indiana.

Abscess in New York

Gina* traveled to New York to visit some college friends. While she was there, she began to experience pain in her back. She could feel that there was some sort of mass there and wanted to get it checked so she called Assist America for help.

Assist America located a few hospitals that were close to where she was staying and she was able to walk to one and seek treatment. The doctor told her that she has an abscess on her lower spine and that’s where the pain was coming from. He was able to drain it and bandage it for her which helped relieve the pain and she was given antibiotics to prevent infection. Gina was able to enjoy the rest of her visit with her friends.


*All names changed for privacy