How an ordinary family vacation turned into a rescue mission

Read time: 3 min

"We were dealing with a complicated situation"

Operations Manager at AXA Partners UK, Stephen, got a call from Mexico from David & Dawn. The beginning of a 3-month long rescue mission.

When family holidays take an unexpected twist

David and Dawn’s Mexican vacation with their 13-year-old daughter took an unexpected twist when Dawn gave birth to Hugo, who entered the world 14 weeks early, after a series of sudden complications.

The family had managed to find a hospital and was relieved when AXA Partners called to provide assistance and insurance coverage until they could get home.

This is when Stephen stepped into the picture.

Rising to more than the medical challenge

Stephen, who closely followed baby Hugo’s case from beginning to end, recalls how stressful the situation was. “Moving baby Hugo to another place was very risky, and yet we were dealing with a complicated situation in the hospital Hugo was first placed in. Their model required some very swift and constant adaptation on our end, at each step of the process, including from an administrative point of view.”

"I had never seen such an unusual challenge"

"We didn’t want to risk moving Hugo to another hospital as he wasn’t medically stable. As his parents were happy with the level of care, it was agreed that he would stay there so as not to have any impact on his treatment.", says Stephen Sweeney, Operations Manager at AXA Partners UK.

Within a couple of days, Stephen managed to confirm the coverage of the case. He was then able to speed up the complex process linked to international medical billing, and to ensure Hugo would continue to receive the necessary treatment until he was fit enough for the 17-hour air ambulance journey back to the UK.

The hospital’s response presented yet another challenge.

Stephen explains, “they wanted to receive the payment as soon as possible and threatened to get Hugo discharged, which was the last thing that we wanted to see".

Thanks to the fast intervention of the teams specialized in the processing of international invoices, Stephen succeeded in ensuring the running payment of the incoming invoices. The teams in Mexico, the UK and in Barcelona really helped him tremendously on this medical assistance.

“I had never seen such an unusual challenge in my 12-years’ medical assistance experience” remarks Stephen.

Going from securing treatment to ensuring wellbeing                                  

Stephen and the team booked and relocated the family in a comfortable accommodation, provided them with ongoing reimbursements, and contacted the parents every couple of days via WhatsApp to make sure any challenges Hugo or they might face were quickly addressed.

As Stephen explains, “We kept checking up on the parents because one can only imagine how terrifying it could be for them – David and Dawn were worried about their new-born son. They just needed someone to talk to, we had to keep them motivated and going, and made sure that they always felt supported and could turn to us whenever they had difficulties.

Nearly 3 months after the day when the first complications occurred, baby Hugo had thankfully made enough progress to make the long journey home via air ambulance. AXA Partners managed to get both parents on the flight. It went smoothly, and Hugo was finally back home in the UK and admitted to Brighton hospital. Hugo has now been discharged from hospital and is safely at home with his parents.

As Stephen happily reminds us, “At the end of the day, the most important thing is we helped save a life. That is, ultimately, what we are here for.

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