Tourist in coma lacked in­sur­ance

Chi­nese pa­tient in In­done­sia shows need for cov­er­age, in­dus­try in­sider says

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By TAN YINGZI in Chongqing tany­ingzi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Most Chi­nese are not aware of the im­por­tance of in­sur­ance, which is a headache in our in­dus­try.”

Ma Senhu, gen­eral man­ager of Chongqing Hol­i­day In­ter­na­tional Travel Agency

Chongqing res­i­dent Yang Ting, 33, has been in coma with a fever for eight days in an In­done­sian hospi­tal’s in­ten­sive care unit after fall­ing ill on July 5 in Bali.

Yang’s story has at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion among friends, col­leagues and lo­cal me­dia. As more Chi­nese travel over­seas, her con­di­tion serves as a warn­ing about be­ing unin­sured.

The hospi­tal told the fam­ily that Yang’s brain had been in­fected by “some un­known virus”, and the doc­tor has been try­ing to iden­tify it be­fore tak­ing fur­ther mea­sures.

Yang’s health has been de­te­ri­o­rat­ing quickly — she con­tracted a se­vere lung in­fec­tion — so the hospi­tal sug­gested the fam­ily trans­fer her to nearby Sin­ga­pore or to Chongqing for bet­ter med­i­cal treat­ment.

But an in­ter­na­tional char­ter flight will cost about 800,000 yuan ($117,860), a huge chal­lenge for Yang’s fam­ily.

Yang, who works as a bus driver in Chongqing, joined a group tour to Bali with a friend on July 4. She came down with a fever the next day and be­came un­con­scious. The tour guide and the friend sent her to the hospi­tal by am­bu­lance.

Yang’s mother, Xiao Shuqin, and Yang’s cousin rushed to Bali.

“She has been very healthy with no ma­jor ill­nesses,” Xiao said. “We can hardly af­ford the char­tered flight, or even the hospi­tal cost here.”

Yang’s col­leagues and friends have do­nated money. Xiao has asked her sis­ter in Chongqing to sell Yang’s new apart­ment as soon as pos­si­ble.

Thanks to the do­na­tions, the fam­ily is able to bring Yang home by the char­tered flight. “We hope to bring her back on Fri­day,” Xiao said.

“She is a good per­son with a kind heart,” fel­low bus driver Liu Tian said.

In Jan­uary, a pas­sen­ger had a seizure and fell un­con­scious on Yang’s bus. Yang im­me­di­ately drove to the near­est hospi­tal and ac­com­pa­nied the pas­sen­ger un­til he awoke.

As re­quired by China’s tourism au­thor­i­ties, Yang’s travel agency must buy ac­ci­dent in­sur­ance for ev­ery trav­eler. But whether she is cov­ered or not is still a ques­tion, since the cause of her ill­ness is un­known, said Ma Senhu, gen­eral man­ager of Chongqing Hol­i­day In­ter­na­tional Travel Agency, which runs many over­seas pack­age tours.

“The or­di­nary travel ac­ci­dent in­sur­ance pur­chased by travel agen­cies can cover up to 300,000 yuan if a tourist dies in an ac­ci­dent dur­ing travel, but it does not cover un­der­ly­ing dis­eases,” he said.

He said Chi­nese trav­el­ers should buy travel in­sur­ance that in­cludes over­seas med­i­cal treat­ment and res­cue be­fore go­ing abroad.

“It’s not ex­pen­sive at all, only about 100 yuan,” Ma said. “But most Chi­nese are not aware of the im­por­tance of in­sur­ance, which is a headache in our in­dus­try.”

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Yang Ting is taken by am­bu­lance to a hospi­tal in Bali, In­done­sia.

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