A ‘routine’ workplace accident

When an oil rig worker took a tumble down some stairs, it seemed a fairly ‘run-of-the-mill’ workplace accident.

Battered and bruised but still able to walk with the aid of cane, the Filipino-national was examined by a local doctor who recommended an MRI scan to ascertain whether there was any spinal damage.

This decision, along with the actions of Tangiers International in facilitating crucial surgery, prevented this worker from being left paralysed from the waist down.

The story of his assessment, treatment and recovery illustrates how medical professionals working in conjunction with Tangiers International can prevent a ‘routine’ accident turning into a devastating injury.

Tangiers International first became involved when it was instructed to handle the medical case management. A field agent flew out to the small island where the patient was based to oversee the treatment and ensure everything was proceeding smoothly.

However, due to the limited medical facilities on the island, it would be necessary to travel to Manila, capital of the Philippines, to undergo the MRI scan.

Flights arrangements were made and shortly afterwards the patient boarded a plane for Manila. He was met at arrivals by Tangiers case manager and Filipino-native Virgil Oria – a seasoned-pro at navigating local bureaucracy and healthcare provision.

Virgil along with fellow Tangiers case manager Nico Pierni ensured everything went as efficiently as possible in Manila, with travel plans and medical appointments organised in order to prevent unnecessary delays or inconveniences for the patient.

After meeting with the surgeon, the patient was taken for the MRI scan. When the results came in, however, it revealed that his injuries were far more severe that they had initially seemed.

Virgil said: “The results of his MRI were presented and the doctor informed us that at any moment he could be paralysed because of this injury. Surgery was requested by the doctor immediately.”

But there was a problem.

The hospital required a guarantee of payment before it would authorise the operation, but this would take several days. For Tangiers’ case managers and the patient himself, this was a tricky situation – no one wanted to risk permanent damage to the spine and paralysis below the waist because of administrative protocol.

Fortunately, having people on the ground paid off yet again. Nico and Virgil spoke to the hospital’s accounts department and gave assurances that the bill would be settled in full – using their personal relationships with staff to ensure the patient’s health came first.

Three days after the assessment, the surgery was carried out successfully. The patient spent another three weeks undergoing physical therapy until it was determined by the orthopaedic surgeon that he was fit enough to return to work.

By being there in person, Tangiers was able to facilitate crucial treatment when it was most needed, reducing the risk that the patient’s injuries would develop into something much worse.

Tangiers International has more than 100 on-the-ground personnel covering 192 countries worldwide. When treatment is required, therefore, it has the ability to ensure it gets done.