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Air ambulance Cochran, Alberta Canada Congestive Heart Failure Driving trip Foothills Medical Centre Jim & Kathie Carter Naperville, IL Vehicle return SkyMed Takes You Home, emergency medical evacuation membership


Jim & Kathie Carter from Naperville, IL

We left Chicago on April 29, 2018 to go on a planned three-month driving trip to Alaska. We met most of our group in Great Falls, Montana, and then traveled on to Cochran, Alberta for four or five days. On our last day there, Kathie had been having shortness of breath, but we were up to 3,500 feet. The next day it was worse, so we went to the local medical center. While checking her in, something happened, and she could hardly catch her breath. They called an ambulance to take her to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary as they had already determined she had heart valves problems. She had heart problems as a child and was cleared for the trip by her doctors before we left. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Her condition stabilized and she was allowed to go home if we had a medical care flight the entire way. Over the next three days SkyMed was very helpful and made sure to get a medical release for her from Foothills Medical Centre. We met the team from SkyMed in her hospital room and had all the necessary documents. We took off about 6:30 Monday evening and were back to our area and in the hospital around 2:00 am.

How did you find out about SkyMed and why did you choose SkyMed?

We’ve had our trailer since 2015 and we went to a rally in Northern Indiana. One of the vendors at the rally was SkyMed and Kathie attended their seminar where they explained how it worked. We had upgraded our trailer and wanted to retire, and Kathie thought we needed SkyMed in our back pocket. It took her a year to convince me to become a member because we usually purchased travel insurance for vacation travel, but that’s different from what SkyMed does.

What would you tell your friends about your experience with SkyMed? 

 We had priced medical insurance and since we both already had our physicals, there seemed to be a minimal risk to not purchasing medical insurance for our time in Canada. Once Kathie’s heart problems stabilized, the doctors would not release us to drive back to the US.  We felt alone and isolated while we tried to decide what to do. Neither Kathie nor I wanted her surgery in an unknown hospital. Adding to our feeling of isolation, our traveling group proceeded on with their trip and we were left behind. We were not aware that SkyMed would take care of the truck and trailer and we didn’t know that if it broke down, they would also bring it home for us. I was lamenting my frustration and needing to be with Kathie but needed to get our truck and trailer home too when one of the SkyMed personnel said, “We’ll take care of that for you,” which was a tremendous relief not to have to worry about that because I was so focused on Kathie. Our truck & trailer were returned home about a week later. We estimated the entire Alaska trip would be about 10K miles and we had already gone over 2400 miles, and that’s a long way from home. We told everyone in our Sunday School class of 90-100 people about our experience and some are planning to contact SkyMed about a membership. We cannot thank the SkyMed team enough for helping us through these times. Kathie is much better now, but she still has some healing to do.




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