Students Injured Abroad
By David Hodges
During Winter Term, two students,Brian Andrews and Aaron Moger, participating in two separate study abroad programs were admitted to the hospital for serious injuries.
Andrews was studying abroad in the Cayman Islands. He and some friends were enjoying a night out at a bar when a stranger tried to start a fight with him.
“There were these guys there, one of them approaches me and it was literally just normal conversation,” Andrews said. “Next thing I know he’s lunging at me and it was really dark. I immediately spun around and I ran away. I looked down and realized I’m bleeding. He stabbed me.”
Andrews said the man bolted, leaving him there with his friends. He said the bouncer called emergency services and minutes later he was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
“The first thing I thought was ‘I’m in this foreign place I have no idea what this hospital’s going to be like,’” Andrews said. “How they’re going to treat me, am I going to have to wait hours before I can get treated?”
Andrews said he was panicky and thought of the high insurance costs, but was mostly concerned that he needed stitches stitches.
Andrews said he was impressed with his treatment at the hospital in the Caymans. He was immediately given stitches and after several days of care was discharged from the hospital.
Insurance was never even a problem.
Elon requires students studying abroad to purchase international health insurance through HTH Worldwide, an international health insurance company. The service provides coverage in many places across the globe. Even if denied, the company promises to reimburse for hospital payments made out of pocket.
But in a country with free health care, it’s not coverage that is the problem. Aaron Moger was studying abroad in Ireland when on a trip to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, an incoming wave hit him full force.
“This huge (wave) came up over,” Moger said. “It took me out from under my legs as I was running away from it and I fell over backwards and broke my arm.”
Although Moger’s accident isn’t as traumatic as Andrews’, it turned out to be far more complicated. Moger was in Northern Ireland, where emergency services are free of charge to both citizens and tourists. After riding in a cab to the hospital, his broken arm was set and put into a cast. He could come back later for a checkup but the problem was that Moger wouldn’t be in Northern Ireland any more. He was headed back to Dublin. Communication broke down between the hospitals he visited.
“We get there and they say ‘No you don’t have (an appointment).’ So we call the previous hospital and said ‘What happened? You said we got an appointment.’ They said ‘Yeah in Derry,’ which is six hours away back in Northern Ireland,” he said.
Moger eventually was able to fix the miscommunication in Dublin and received treatment. During the course of the next two weeks, he saw four doctors in three hospitals in three different countries. He missed the first week of spring semester to stay home to receive more treatment.
Moger said that without the faculty leader on his trip, Kim Pyne, he would never have gotten back on his feet after the wave knocked him over.
“She was coordinating all the steps and overseeing the process while I was letting them fix my arm,” Moger said with a chuckle.
Dean of International Programs Woody Pelton said that faculty leaders go through training for this exact reason. In workshops, faculty leaders are educated on both HTH Worldwide and how to handle a student who is sick or injured.
He said that it’s not unusual for faculty to take a student to the hospital or help care for them once they are there.Explore posts in the same categories: News