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Chris Potter 
Global Marketing Manager, MedAire 
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Travel Health & Safety Blog

CASE STUDY: A Fractured Wrist Off The Coast of Belize

A Fractured Wrist Off The Coast of Belize – What Happens Next?

While on charter off the coast of Belize, the chief stew tripped while descending the aft stairs, landing squarely on her wrist. In extreme pain, she radioed for help.


The Captain called MedAire for advice. After conducting a trauma assessment, the MedAire team requested images of her wrist and provided recommendations to manage the pain. Upon review of the images, MedAire suspected a fractured wrist, and recommended she go immediately shore-side for a CT Scan.


All pretty cut and dry in the world of yacht crew and phone-based medical advice. A crewmember is hurt and a doctor is called, end of story?

It could be for most phone-based medical providers. But – what comes next is where the MedAire difference is truly apparent.

There are a few medical facilities in Belize. Some have quite impressive websites, with pictures of gleaming new equipment. From a quick Google search, most people would think it would be a great option to go for care.

But – the reality can be quite different. MedAire knows this, because MedAire and our parent company, International SOS, have a global team dedicated to evaluating medical facilities around the world.

During the evaluation, our team is looking at capabilities and limitations of the facilities, assessing specialties, taking photos, and reviewing credentials.

That’s how we know that the facility with the impressive website, with the gleaming new equipment, is a poor choice to refer the chief stew.

We know that while the facility has a CT Scanner, there is no radiologist on staff to use it. We’ve seen the poor storage conditions of their supplies, and the inadequate sanitation of the operating theatre.

Really good outpatient facility with small clinic capability but well equipped. Management are very friendly and well oriented with our mission. Always available over the phone or by email to provide their best service to our patient.
Provides appropriate occupational service.
No imaging service in the clinic, just one ultrasound machine.
Small lab but effective and reliable for routine diagnosis.
Good pharmacy with enough storage, yellow fever vaccine, rabies vaccine, and anti-rabies immunoglobulin available.

Instead, MedAire refers the stew to a private facility we had toured and knew was capable of providing the imaging and stabilisation needed.

No other medical provider has MedAire’s extensive knowledge of quality and appropriate facilities.

We arranged for the chief stew to be seen at the private facility. The CT Scan concluded a severe sprain. The private facility immobilised the wrist with a wrist splint, and she returned to the vessel.

With the support of the other stewardesses, and with no further complications to her injury, the charter continued as planned and guests received uninterrupted service.

MedAire also advised that the chief stew should have a follow up appointment in the next few weeks to see how the wrist was healing. MedAire requested the vessel itinerary from the Captain and, based on their upcoming destinations, arranged an appointment with a private clinic in Tortola that we recommend.   

And that’s the value of MedAire’s global network. It’s the thousands of details we have at our fingertips for when you, your crew, and your guests need assistance.

It’s the more than 30 years we’ve spent travelling the globe with a medical team whose job is to identify the best medical facilities to support our clients.

What does this mean to you? When you call for assistance, you can be confident you will be referred to the most appropriate, quality medical facility available.

Contact us for more information about the MedAire Difference.