2006/08/11

You Only Live Twice?

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” - Mark Twain

A Japanese health insurance company reported that in a recent three year period, nine of its customers were hospitalized in the USA and Canada with strokes or other brain conditions. The doctors in these cases told the families and local insurance people that the patients were brain dead.

Three of the families refused to allow the cessation of treatment and chartered aircraft to return the patients to Japan. Those three patients received treatment in Japan and subsequently recovered! Their insurance paid for the transportation costs. The other six patients did not have coverage for transportation and reportedly died overseas.

This odd story brings up some important issues. When you travel, be aware that different countries have different standards with regard to pronouncing someone "brain dead" and ending treatment. If you travel or move to another country, make sure you have health insurance that covers you while overseas and that it includes medical transportation costs home if necessary. This can be critical if you are going to a country where medical is not up to the standards of your home country. There are excellent affordable international heath insurance coverages availalbe depending of course on your country of residence and where you visit. Also, make sure your family knows your wishes for situations such as this and write them down in a living will.


"I've called in a specialist for a second opinion - an accountant."

6 comments:

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

A Fiji story: two weeks ago, Joe wanted to find an old friend S in Labasa. He asks around and is told that S has had a heart attack and died. Joe is very upset. Peceli and Joe buy groceries and flowers and hire a taxi to go to the family home. The relatives say, 'No, he's not dead. He's in Suva!' Joe won't believe it. At the Grand Eastern Hotel,he has a beer and makes a phone call. S says, 'Hullo Joe, it's so good to hear your voice.' Joe takes a deep breath and says, 'Not as much as me hearing your voice!. Joe flies to Suva, and stays with S for a couple of days, to great rejoicing!
W.

Pandabonium said...

I wonder how that rumor got started. All's well that ends well. Good thing Joe made that call.

tony said...

I wonder how that rumor got started.

I blame Bill Clinton!

Pandabonium said...

Oh no. Tony is checking to see I've done the post he tagged me for....

Robin said...

hmmm,. as far as I know, it is a international medical and legal definition.

But then again, the therapeutic conclusion may be slightly different..

In the western world, it is futile or useless to treat a brain dead patient, but in Japan, it is a OK to try your best.

Miracle does need a plan , sometimes.

Pandabonium said...

In the USA there are very large financial incentives ivolved due to the medical and insurance systems. So "brain dead" may be defined a certain way, but it may be put to use when what they really mean is "not financially possible". They just can't legally say so.