Helping Travelers, Every Day:
COVID-19 Medical Assistance Case Study

On Call’s mission has always been helping travelers in their time of need, every day, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been no different. The pandemic presented some interesting challenges, unique barriers, and extremely nuanced complications amid our efforts to return people home, but nothing that our Global Assistance teams couldn’t handle! Read our latest case study to learn more.

Amid the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a 50-year old male was traveling in the Philippines when he was admitted to a local hospital for shortness of breath. Once he arrived at the local hospital, he contacted On Call International for further assistance. On Call immediately opened a new medical case and orchestrated a medical consultation between On Call’s Medical Team and the traveler’s treating physician in the Philippines. While the traveler’s COVID-19 test results were negative, his diagnosis was congestive heart failure and pneumonia. The traveler required treatment the local hospital could not provide.

Simultaneously, On Call’s Global Security Team, was closely monitoring border closings, travel restrictions, and flight cancellations worldwide due to COVID-19. Given the traveler’s diagnosis as well as the rapidly changing travel landscape, On Call’s Medical Team determined the traveler should be transported ASAP to a facility in the United States with more appropriate and enhanced medical capabilities.

Challenges: Border Closings, Flight Cancellations, and Airport Rendezvous
On Call’s Rescue Nurse Transportation Coordinators worked with local resources to dispatch a Thailand-based flight nurse to meet the traveler at the hospital in the Philippines to complete the first leg of the mission. Border closings between provinces throughout the Philippines prohibited passenger vehicles from traveling. To counter this, On Call International secured a ground ambulance to pick up the Thailand-based flight nurse from the airport upon landing in the Philippines. Upon arrival at the hospital, the flight nurse assessed the traveler for stability for air travel; and together, the ambulance transported them to the airport for their flight from the Philippines to the San Francisco Airport in California, USA.

Entry into the United States was significantly restricted with new COVID-19 regulations being announced seemingly by the hour, which would inevitably create entry issues for the Thailand-based flight nurse upon arrival into the USA. Quickly responding to this challenge, On Call arranged for a Los Angeles, California, USA-based rescue nurse to meet the Thailand-based flight nurse and the patient at the San Francisco Airport. This was not an easy task due to limited flight availability and frequent cancellations, but On Call’s Travel Desk successfully secured a flight for the USA-based rescue nurse to fly to San Francisco with ample time to spare. Upon arrival, clearance of customs and immigration in San Francisco, the patient’s care was transferred from the Thailand-based flight nurse to On Call’s USA-based rescue nurse.

On Call’s USA-based rescue nurse accompanied the patient to his home hospital in Las Vegas, where On Call International had already secured his admission. After transferring care to the hospital staff in Las Vegas, On Call’s Travel Desk arranged for On Call’s USA-based rescue nurse to return to his home in Los Angeles, California. On Call also facilitated the return of the Thailand-based flight nurse to her home in Bangkok while navigating some unique circumstances including denied boarding due to new mandates from the Thailand Ministry of Health and re-routing.

Aside from facilitating the safe return home for the traveler, the Thailand-based flight nurse, and the USA-based rescue nurse amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this case also demonstrates On Call’s capabilities to navigate extraordinary circumstances during a crisis, including:

      • Ability to access and coordinate with an expansive network of local resources across the globe to find the best solutions for our travelers.

      • The willingness and determination of On Call’s rescue nurses and global network of flight nurses to travel amid the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in support of On Call’s mission of helping travelers, every day.

      • Up-to-the-minute intelligence regarding COVID-19 from On Call’s Global Security Team leading to quick yet informed recommendations and decisions on behalf of the traveler, rescue nurses, and flight nurses.

      • Best in class coordination from our Global Response Center, Medical Team, Transportation Coordinators, and Travel Desk to secure available flights and out of the box solutions amid the COVID-19 chaos and cancellations.


For over 25 years, On Call International has provided fully-customized travel risk management and global assistance services protecting millions of travelers, their families, and their organizations. Contact us today and watch our video to learn more. You can also stay in touch with On Call’s subject matter experts by signing up for our quarterly Travel Risk Management (TRM) newsletter.