Repatriation to Leipzig
Back with the family at last –
home again in record time
80-year-old patient with pneumonia
returned home safely from Austria
By Peter Güttinger
It was supposed to be a relaxing whitsun holiday in picturesque Austria, simply unwinding and enjoying the beautiful countryside with her family around her. Just the year before, Iris Schwertl (name has been changed) had received a new heart valve, and was now looking forward to finally being able to return to Schwarzach on holiday. That was not how it turned out, however.
The journey took longer than expected, and the excitement brought about by the change of scene proved to be more of a strain than anyone thought. On the Saturday a week before whitsun, Ms. Schwertl was already experiencing severe shortness of breath and chest pains. At first, she thought that the symptoms would ease of their own accord, but by the following Monday, they had grown so bad that her family decided to take her to the local hospital, which was situated nearby. She received an immediate and correct diagnosis from the head physician in charge: severe pneumonia with shortness of breath. He immediately ordered bedrest, and Ms. Schwertl was immediately treated as an inpatient. The diagnosis meant that she was confined to the hospital for an indeterminate period.
The family, not having any other option, spent the remaining week of their holiday in Austria and visited Ms. Schwertl every day. The day on which they were due to depart, however, the head physician refused to allow Ms. Schwertl to embark on the return journey, as her state of health meant that she was in no way strong enough to face the 7-hour trip back to Germany. It was with a heavy heart that her relatives made the decision to leave Grandma behind and return to collect her later.
Just at that moment, however, Ms. Schwertl remembered that she had joined the IFA the year before. A short phone call on Whit Monday then confirmed what everybody had hoped: her membership was valid and she was guaranteed repatriation! From the base in Leipzig, the machinery was set in motion.
The chief medical from the IFA clarified the patient's medical details with the doctors in Schwarzach, the hospital in Borna to which she wished to be transported was made ready for her arrival, and the special plane carrying the medical team was immediately sent to Austria where, just like in Leipzig, everything had been prepared to allow the patient to be transported with no delays
Just 17 hours after the emergency call was made, Ms. Schwertl was in hospital in Germany, smiling from ear to ear. Her family shared her joy.