NH family expected to fly loved one home from Curacao after he suffered medical emergency on cruise

ALTON, N.H. — A New Hampshire family has received confirmation from the insurance company that their loved one will be flown back home to the U.S. after he suffered a medical emergency on a cruise in the Caribbean last week.

Gary Scribner has been in a hospital in Curacao ever since. “My main concern is getting him out of here,” said Kaeleigh Collins, Scribner’s daughter.

“He’s still having a hard time, he’s in a lot of pain, his chest hurts, where they did the compressions and he still is very, very short of breath,” said Sharon, Gary’s wife.

Boston 25 News reached out to the insurance company on Tuesday night and they told us they are looking into this case.

On Wednesday afternoon, Allianz Partners confirmed that their ‘Travel Assistance’ team plans to transport Scribner home to the U.S. on Friday.

We empathize with families who want their loved ones to get the best possible care and we work as quickly as possible to move our customers to appropriate facilities when medically necessary. In each case, we must first determine that the customer is medically able to be transported and that there is a bed available in an appropriate facility. These steps take time. We also often then need to transport a medical team member to the patient’s location to accompany them. I can confirm that Mr. Scribner’s healthcare provider in Curacao has received a payment guarantee and we are currently waiting for them to accept that guarantee. A nurse is currently on her way to Curacao and will return with Mr. Scribner to ensure he has a safe trip home.

I’m glad that we could be of assistance to Mr. Scribner and his family and wish him a speedy recovery.

Sharon Scribner says her husband appeared to have a seizure and went into cardiac arrest.

“I started screaming for someone to please come help us and a passenger of the ship came and we got into the floor and by the time we got into the floor he was completely blue,” said Sharon.

She says his heart stopped and he spent a few days in the ICU once medics transferred him off the ship to the closest island.

“I’m a registered nurse, I’ve never seen anyone turn so blue, and I’ve worked in trauma for 10 years,” said Scribner.

She believes her husband suffered a stroke and now wants to get him better care in the U.S.

Scribner says they bought travel insurance, which they thought was supposed to cover a lot of these medical costs outside of the U.S.

She says the insurance should have covered a medical flight for her husband to get home immediately, but they struggled to get answers.

“Then the next thing I was told was, ‘no we’re not going to take him because they can care for him there, he has adequate care here,’” said Scribner.

The family says they were initially just given a bill of $10,000 dollars by the hospital, and if they didn’t pay it, Gary wouldn’t have been released.

“For the first few days I didn’t even know what was going on,” said Gary. “I can deal with that [pain], I can’t deal with the pain on their faces watching them go through this.”

“I worry just about him and his wellbeing over everything, so I am happy that we’re in this process of finally going home,” said Collins.

This family says they’re thankful Gary will finally head home after Allianz promised to cover his medical costs in Curacao.

The plan is to transport him on a flight Friday from Curacao to Boston accompanied by a nurse with oxygen.

“I 100% think that the story really helped, I think you really pushed everyone, you got everyone’s attention,” said Collins.

Once Gary is flown back to Boston, he’ll be taken to Mass General Hospital for more care.

“We’re fortunate there’s people like you out there that light fires under people’s butts to get them moving, but it shouldn’t have to be like that,” said Gary.

This family says overall they are thankful they purchased travel insurance to cover all of these costs, but they just wish they heard back from the company sooner.

Editor’s note: Curacao Medical Center sent Boston 25 the following statement following our initial report: “We have very strict Infection prevention policies in place, next to our JCI accreditation process, which is focused on quality of care. We stand behind our trained and highly skilled medical team.”

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