Despite pressure from rising visitor number, medical teams dedicate to saving lives
An Indian couple came to Macau for their honeymoon trip at the end of last December when the bride got severely sick during their stay. In the midst of their helpless moments, Tourism Crisis Management Office (GGCT) and local private entities jointly provided the couple with prompt assistance and support. As a result, the couple survived the predicament until the bride's recovery. Macau people's kindness forever warmed their heart.
The young newlyweds, Rajat Rhall and her wife arrived at Macau on December 30, 2010 to enjoy their honeymoon. When they woke up next day, Rajat found his wife paralyzed and unable to move. They thought some rest might do better for her but after breakfast the bride's situation went worse and they decided to see a doctor.
They went to Taipa Medical Center of Kiang Wu Hospital for consultation. The wife was then transferred to Kiang Wu Hospital for more detailed checkup. On January 2, 2011, her illness became more severe and was diagnosed as Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS). She was required to stay in the intensive care unit for immediate medical treatment.
The huge cost for her one-month hospitalization and medical treatment brought immense financial burden upon the couple who had not bought any travel insurance. The husband called home in hope of their family's financial and mental support. Their seven family members including brothers, parents and uncles arrived in Macau later on, further boosting their accommodation and meal expenses.
It could be very helpless for them in Macau, where they were totally unfamiliar with. Fortunately Rajat's relative met Ho Chio Meng, Prosecutor General of Public Prosecutions Office in an international meeting before and so Rajat contacted Ho for advice. Ho referred Rajat's case to Tourism Crisis Management Office (GGCT) at once and met with the Coordinator of GGCT, João Manuel Costa Antunes, who, upon knowing the couple's situation, immediately instructed the office to provide comprehensive assistance for them. The office thus assisted them in transferring the wife to Hospital Centre S. Januário and arranged the couple and their family to stay at Metropark Hotel Macau at a highly favorable room rate. The office also arranged Aruna's Indian Curry & Café House to provide daily meals for them. The two GGCT officers actively supported and assisted the couple until they left Macau.
Rajat expressed that his wife was hospitalized for 22 days and throughout the period GGCT had been helping and supporting them incredibly like their family; without their assistance, he and his wife would never have survived the difficult time. The two GGCT officers had become their friends whom they forever thanked. Also they learnt a lesson and would definitely buy travel insurance before any future trip. Macau was a fascinating destination as well as a safe and beautiful city to him with friendly and honest people. He would for sure come back to visit again. He also acknowledged the Macau Government as a great organization willing to help visitors in their times of need.
Business entities help guests in need
Thanks to GGCT's officers' dedication and private entities' support, the office helped the Indian couple go through their difficult time in Macau smoothly. Metropark Hotel Macau and Aruna's Indian Curry & Café House, which provided discounted room rates and meals respectively for the couple and their family, expressed that their service was guest-oriented and helping others in need was one of their business' principles.
The General Manager of Metropark Hotel Macau expressed that their hotel hoped to help the couple's family get settled so that they could devote completely to looking after the sick bride. Therefore the hotel offered a very favorable room rate for them to stay during their 29 days in Macau. He also expressed that when visitors encountered problem during their trip in Macau, they probably felt helpless as a foreigner. The hotel would try to help the guests within their capability as it was priceless to win the guests' nice impression of their warm hospitality.
As the owner of Aruna's Indian Curry & Café House, Aruna is an Indian herself too. She felt an urge to help others especially her countrymen. Living in Macau for 28 years, Aruna often encountered Indian or other international visitors who asked her for help in Macau. Once an Indian visitor died of heart attack in Macau and she offered help too within her capability.
Aruna shared that when foreigners encountered problems in Macau, it was more than financial problem but about their lack of ways to seek help. Sometimes what they needed was someone who could give them some ideas or show them care and support.
Aruna added that the Indian couple was very lucky since not every city could show care to all people like the Macau Government, which provided the best-possible help for locals and visitors alike. GGCT was also a great team who offered prompt and effective assistance.
Hospitals devoted to saving lives as their mission
Macau is an international tourist city with over 2,000,000 visitor arrivals every year. It is common for visitors to encounter accidents or get sick during their trip. With the continuous rise of the visitor number, Macau's medical system is facing certain pressure. Macau's medical institutes are however dedicated to saving lives. Whether it is for locals or visitors, local hospitals strive to provide the medical service they need.
In January this year an Indian couple visited Macau when the wife suddenly fell seriously sick and was admitted to Kiang Wu Hospital and later Hospital Centre S. Januário. Under the medical teams' attentive care, she recovered well eventually. The Emergency Department Supervisor of Kiang Wu Hospital, Doctor Lai, remarked that the lady was feeble in her limbs when she first came to the hospital and after she was admitted, her situation quickly decayed and she had to rely on breathing machine to survive.
The doctor said that the patient's illness was diagnosed as Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), a disorder caused by viruses and often with unknown cause. The illness commonly starts with a cold and later gets worse with paralysis. Sometimes their situation was mistakenly certified as brain death. The disorder could however be healed with prompt treatment within one to three months.
Doctor Lai added that it was a critical period during the first few days after the disease attack. Kiang Wu Hospital immediately gave proper injections to the patient after the diagnosis. As the medical expense was huge, the hospital coordinated with GGCT to get the patient transferred to Hospital Centre S. Januário after her situation became stable.
Lai stated that the number of non-local patients surged in recent years and many cases involved operations. Upon such emergency, their hospital always treated life as their first priority even though they could not receive full payment from their patients sometimes.
Medical Supervisor Lei of Hospital Centre S. Januário said that the patient was transferred from Kiang Wu Hospital to their intensive care unit on January 7, 2011 and after 10 days her situation became stable. She got discharged from hospital after recovery another 10 days later.
He added that there were social workers stationed in hospital. They helped both local residents and visitors who got admitted to hospital. Their assistance included helping the foreign patients to contact their family and have their visa renewed, etc. He remarked that the hospital had to face other challenges when they took care of non-local patients, including language/communication problem and lack of the patients' medical records. Regardless of the challenges, they always tried their best to restore the patients to health. The government's related mechanism and interdepartmental collaboration had facilitated their assistance to sick travelers as well.