International SOS for Expats

If you choose an insurer that uses International SOS you will be issued with a Membership Card that bears a very important telephone number – it’s the number of International SOS, their medical assistance partner.

International SOS is the world’s largest medical assistance company. They have twenty-nine 24 hour Alarm Centres world-wide and a dedicated fleet of twelve air ambulances which are quite literally intensive care units in the sky carrying everything necessary to cope with a medical emergency.

International SOS – at your service 24 hours a day.

This service can save lives as John Hamilton and his wife Helen found out in June 2003.

5th June 2003, 11.45 am It was a beautiful sunny day on the island Ko Samui, Thailand, and on his day off, John decided to take a run on his motorbike.

12.15 pm John’s run took him down a long, steep hill, which veered off sharply to the right at the bottom. Unbeknown to John, at the bottom of the hill the road was particularly rough with lots of gravel. On the gravel John lost control of the bike, hit his head sharply on the ground and slid 10 metres across the gravel.

12.20 pm lying on the ground, John was spotted by a local farmer who rushed off to a nearby clinic to find a doctor. Luckily a small rural clinic was just 1 km away.

International Assistance
12.50 pm A doctor from the clinic arrived at the scene and assessed John’s condition. It was clearly serious. John was bleeding from a wound in his head and the doctor suspected internal injuries. John’s arm was broken and he had multiple lacerations from contact with the gravel. From documents in John’s wallet, the doctor, who fortunately spoke some English, found John’s home telephone number. He called John’s home on a mobile phone.

12.55 pm Helen was working from home that day so was in when the doctor called. After talking to the doctor she immediately looked out their insurance documents and found their Global Healthcare Membership card with International SOS’s emergency telephone number on it. She called International SOS who advised her to go to the clinic and call them from there.

1.00 pm The ambulance arrived to take John to the local clinic, which is only equipped to deal with relatively minor injuries.

1.30 pm Helen arrived at the clinic and asked the doctor there to talk to International SOS. It was clear to SOS staff from talking to the local doctor that John was seriously ill and needed to be evacuated as soon as possible. International SOS’s co-ordinating doctor provided medical management advice to the clinic’s doctor whilst arranging ground ambulances and hospital admission to Bangkok’s General Hospital.

3.40 pm International SOS dispatched an air ambulance to Ko Samui.

5.45 pm John was taken by ambulance to the nearest airfield; the air ambulance arrived complete with an SOS doctor. In the air the SOS doctor assessed John’s condition and on the ground, SOS made arrangements to have John admitted to a hospital in Bangkok.

7.30 pm The air ambulance touched down at Bangkok Airport and John was transferred to the Bangkok General Hospital.

8.15 pm In hospital John received numerous scans and investigations and underwent major brain surgery to remove a clot. He would also require further surgery to deal with his broken arm, and some internal bleeding in his chest.

Following five hours of surgery, John was wheeled in to an intensive care room where he remained for five days. John has made a good recovery from his accident although he has many scars from his encounter with the gravel. There is no doubt about the fact that SOS’s quick decisive action helped save John’s life.

To respect the privacy of individuals needing assistance, the information presented here has been changed, and details omitted.