A British family faces tens of thousands of dollars in jeopardy – and growing – after their father fell ill before and during a family visit in Calgary.
Max Verlander told Global News that his father, David, started feeling ill on December 21, 2022 while at London Heathrow Airport.
“He was having a bit of a cough when we took off – nothing major,” said Verlander.
“But about five to six hours into the flight, he started to feel really unwell.”
Verlander said WestJet The flight crew, as well as a nurse on board, helped his father get settled until they landed.
“They put him on oxygen for the remainder of the flight,” he said.
The 59-year-old father arrived in Calgary, where he was evaluated by airport paramedics. Verlander said they were told he could be taken to the hospital or see a doctor the next day. He said his father agreed to go to the doctor and prescribed him antibiotics for a chest infection.
However, four days later, on Christmas morning, he said his father had gotten a lot worse.
“It completely deteriorated,” said Verlander.
“He was in utter agony.”
Verlander was taken to Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, where he was admitted and placed in the intensive care unit.
The family hoped he would be released the next day, but then received news that he was in a very dire condition. Not only is his father battling various viral and bacterial lung infections, Verlander said, but he is now suffering from some kidney failure and needs dialysis.
“We hope to see him wake up soon,” he said. “Because, honestly, that’s the hardest part. Going back every day, we don’t see any change.”
What the family sees is an ever-increasing medical bill.
As of Tuesday, it has already crossed $85,000.
“We dread the thought, we try not to think about it, but it could easily approach a quarter of a million dollars.”
Daughter Olivia Verlander has been watching all this unfold from across the pond.
She told Global News her father looked into travel insurance but found the cost too high. She also said he thought he had a cold and it wasn’t going to get any worse. She added that the family rest assured that even if he did, it would be covered by the credit card used to book the trip.
“I don’t think it ever crossed our minds that anything was going to go wrong, and we thought we had that backup anyway,” she said.
“Obviously we were shocked to find out that this was not the case,” said Max Verlander. “And it was too late. It was too late.”
Omar Kiwan with Insurance Goose of British Columbia It is a “Canadian Made for Canadians” insurance company and app, that specializes in travel insurance.
Kiwan told Global News that travelers should not rely on any type of credit card when it comes to travel medical insurance.
“First of all, it has a lot of exceptions and limitations,” he said.
Some of them include an age limit, flight length limits, coverage limits or exclusions for pre-existing conditions, Kiwan noted.
“The credit card company offers the same policy for everyone, so it’s not specific to your health condition.”
Goose Insurance said that it is very important to have travel medical insurance, but it must be tailored to the traveler.
Kiwan admitted that it may cost more – but it will be worth it.
“God forbid if you get sick unexpectedly or have an accident. You’re on the hook, or financially responsible for those medical bills — unless you have travel medical insurance.”
“For the price you pay for travel medical insurance for the potential savings and financial protection you get – it’s totally worth it.”
After Sunwing stops serving Saskatchewan, some passengers stranded via Edmonton may return
Help pay mounting bills
Global News has reached out to the Alberta government to see if David Verlander qualifies for any kind of help with his mounting hospital bills.
spokesperson Alberta Health Services As in any county, public health insurance coverage is provided only to insured residents. AHS went on to say that this is similar to many other countries.
The speaker also encouraged visitors to Alberta to obtain travel medical insurance before coming.
Urgent and emergency care will be provided, however, the individual remains responsible for all costs.
The Verlander family also reached out to the British Embassy in Canada, but they said they, too, could not help.
The family is now starting The GoFundMe campaign is hoping for some help. It has received donations from across the city as well as from across Canada and the UK
The family told Global News that they are grateful for the strangers who have come forward to help their father.
“This was a tough, harsh lesson for us, but we take it one day at a time.”
and copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.