"Being in a foreign country where you feel somewhat vulnerable can be difficult and your team really helped us....I am glad that you were the ones dealing with my difficult situation."
- S.W. Ontario
In Earthquake Aftermath, Response Time is Critical:
How MEDEX Global Solutions Protected Clients and Travelers in Haiti
Baltimore, MD (January 22, 2010) - Within 17 minutes of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake striking Port-au-Prince, Haiti, MEDEX Global Solutions, a leader in the travel assistance industry, had notified clients of the event. Medical and security teams in Baltimore, Maryland, and Houston, Texas, were quickly assessing the situation, contacting on-the-ground resources and providing advice and guidance to clients who had travelers and expatriates in Haiti.
Time is crucial in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. "Our first goal was to get the most accurate information as quickly as possible," says Bruce Kirby, President and CEO of MEDEX Global Solutions. "We needed to carefully evaluate the situation, so we could provide sound advice to our clients and their travelers."
While some organizations and travelers wanted to leave the country to return home to safety, many MEDEX Global Solutions clients were trying to get into Port-au-Prince to help. Major news networks, relief agencies and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) organizations turned to the travel assistance company for aircraft, food and water, and other supplies. To provide on-the-ground medical, security and logistical assistance, MEDEX Global Solutions had seven individuals, including a MEDEX Physician Advisor, operating from Haiti.
Despite the initial shutdown of Port-au-Prince's Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport, MEDEX Global Solutions transported several high-profile clients into the city less than 12 hours after the earthquake. "Our teams worked all night to make secure transportation arrangements," says Charlie LeBlanc, President of ASI Group, the security division of MEDEX Global Solutions. "With our help, these clients were able to obtain the first video footage for a major news organization."
In the initial aftermath of the earthquake, MEDEX Global Solutions had 10 aircraft, consisting of two Jetstream 32 twin-engine turboprops with 19-seat capacity, six Bell 206 helicopters and two Learjet air ambulances, on stand-by or actively transporting people into and out of Haiti. Within 48 hours, the company had moved 94 rescue workers, emergency responders and members of the press into Port-au-Prince. By the morning of Friday, January 15, several clients who had been affected by the earthquake were transported to nearby safe havens. As clients continue to travel in and out of the country, MEDEX Global Solutions' on-the-ground resources provide food, water and fuel to clients in Port-au-Prince.
Overall, MEDEX Global Solutions provided assistance to more than 800 travelers and expatriates affected by the earthquake. "Unfortunately, we still have several individuals who passed away or are missing," says Kirby. "While we hope for the best, we are actively working to locate them and bring their remains home to their families."
In addition to the logistical, medical and security support, MEDEX Global Solutions has promised financial support. The company is matching employee contributions to relief organizations. "We are proud to be a part of the relief missions sponsored by our clients, and this is just one more way to support them," adds Kirby.
About MEDEX Global Solutions: MEDEX Global Solutions is the oldest and largest independently-owned provider of global travel, security and medical assistance in North America. Comprised of MEDEX Global Group, ASI Group, MEDEX Assistance Corporation, MEDEX Insurance Corporation, and CMI Insurance, MEDEX Global Solutions serves corporations, scholastic institutions, government agencies, humanitarian organizations and individual business and leisure travelers. Services range from pre-trip intelligence and contingency planning to real-time medical case management and complex emergency evacuations. For more information, please visit the MEDEX Global Group Website. (http://www.medexassist.com/default.aspx?campaignid=MXG10PR01H)
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Appendicitis in China
A 16-year-old student in Beijing was admitted to a local hospital for an emergency appendectomy. However, the hospital would not perform the surgery without a guarantee of payment. The woman's family contacted CMI for assistance. CMI issued a guarantee of payment while the MEDEX Emergency Response Center monitored the woman's treatment, and helped arrange for her parents to come visit. Several days later, the woman was discharged from the hospital and able to recover with her parents nearby.