Recently, as part of my role as Medical Director at Allianz Worldwide Care, I came across the case of Alexander, a seven-month-old baby boy, suffering from a congenital biliary atresia. This meant that he was missing the duct that connected his liver to his bowels, causing a build-up of bile in his liver. Alexander’s condition was worsening rapidly and progressed to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).
An urgent liver transplant was necessary to save his life. Alexander was immediately placed on a waiting list for a transplant in the Netherlands, where the average waiting time is three months – however, he needed urgent treatment if he had any chance of survival.
Since Alexander’s family had an international private medical insurance (iPMI) policy in place, Allianz Worldwide Care evacuated Alexander and his parents to the Global Health City Hospital in India for the transplant. Alexander’s father donated part of his own liver to help his son, and they both underwent the surgery a week later.
Unfortunately Alexander’s body rejected the new liver, which is not an uncommon reaction and he required high dose steroids and immune-modulating medication to help his body accept the new organ. This meant a one month stay in a paediatric ICU.
The initial costs of the evacuation via air ambulance from the Netherlands to India and the transplant surgery rocketed from £116,500 to £233,000. Fortunately, everything was covered by the policy, allowing the parents to concentrate fully on the recovery of their baby.