The IMC Mariner Medical Management team includes professionals from the maritime, medical, and legal industries, and this diversity has been critical to our success. In addition to providing a broad array of experience and ideas, our diversity makes us exceptionally savvy medical claims managers.
Working proactively keeps costs low, but it also avoids creating additional problems and frustrating delays for ill or injured mariners and our clients. Time and again, we have saved our clients from headaches, and ensured that mariners made it back to their vessels or to their homes to recover quickly and efficiently.
Here are some examples of when we have been ahead of the curve:
A Ukrainian Mariner in South Africa
A Ukrainian mariner with a serious head injury was taken to a hospital in a small South African port for evaluation and treatment. His English was very poor, and the hospital had to use a translation service. There was only one neurosurgeon serving the entire region and he was very nervous about releasing his patient without assurances that adequate follow-up treatment would be provided. He was also swamped with work and difficult to reach. Time zone differences between the USA, South Africa and Ukraine added to the challenge.
The logistics of repatriation were daunting, especially since international travel to and from Russia was about to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and timing was critical. IMC 3M’s Medical Director established, through peer-to-peer discussions and numerous e-mail exchanges, a very positive relationship with the treating neurosurgeon to carefully monitor progress and determine when air travel would be considered safe. Over the course of multiple conference calls including the treating neurosurgeon, our Dr. Smith, repatriation specialists, and a hospital facility in the Ukraine, we were able to coordinate medically escorted transfer to a suitable medical facility close to the mariner’s home where he could recover with frequent visits from his wife and family.
The escort was performed by a highly qualified Russian nurse travelled from Moscow to South Africa and played a major role in coordinating all aspects of the repatriation. This proactive approach likely prevented the mariner from becoming “stranded” in South Africa due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and minimized the period he had to stay in the South African hospital. Significant costs were saved due to IMC-3M’s proactive response.
Proper Care for a Severe Hand Injury
A Filipino seaman suffered a very serious hand injury while stowing away mooring ropes at sea at the beginning of a long sea passage. The IMC-3M team were in constant contact with the Master, as well as the USCG and local ship’s agent, and helped coordinate the medivac. Due to the severity of his injury, resulting in a lack of blood flow to the fingers, it was apparent that rapid surgical intervention was required.
The IMC-3M team researched hospitals within helicopter range to find one with a suitable major trauma center. Initially, the agent had planned to send him to a small local medical facility which would have been incapable of performing such an intricate surgery--- a delay that might have cost him his limb given the loss of blood flow. Rather than have the USCG rescue helicopter transport the mariner to their base, and lose valuable time with ambulance transport to the hospital located some distance away, we persuaded the USCG to have their helicopter crew take the mariner direct to the hospital where the trauma team were waiting to provide immediate care.