Carnival Cruise Ship, Financial Hardship, Illness, International, Global

Georgia Woman Falling Sick On Cruise Ship Causes Financial Hardship For Her Family

The cruise ship dropped the woman off at a hospital in the DR, but doctors advise she takes a medical flight to be treated in the U.S.

After taking a Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas with her husband on Sunday, a Georgia grandmother, Loretta Cox, found herself clinging to life on a ventilator in a Dominican Republic hospital, and the staggering medical costs required to transport her back to the U.S. for treatment continue to mount.

The 54-year-old mother of six and grandmother of nine had embarked on the cruise from Florida as a leisure trip. However, WSBTV reported that by May 20, her condition had deteriorated severely, with fluid filling her lungs, necessitating her being placed on the boat’s ventilator. “She didn’t even make it to her room,” said Cox’s daughter, Aldes Brooks. “She collapsed and two teenagers helped her, and called a medic.”

On May 21, the cruise ship dropped her off at a hospital in the Dominican Republic, where she stayed for several days. Cox’s family collected $28,000 to secure a medical flight to land in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by Thursday. However, the expenses continued to escalate, including a $28,000 bill the family paid to have an ambulance transport her to the hospital for intensive care. According to Brooks, “Everything is $10,000, $15,000, $24,000.”

The crux of the issue is that Dominican doctors cannot adequately treat Cox as they don’t accept her insurance, so it would cost her $4,000 a day to remain. Doctors confirmed they could keep the woman stable; however they advised her to arrange a special medical flight back to the U.S. to undergo necessary treatment. One company has quoted over $23,000 upfront for such a flight.

“She’s everything to us,” Brooks said about the cruise nightmare. “We’re not prepared for a loss like this. Not now.” It is unknown what coverage Cox has. However, travel sites like Travel Insurance encourage travelers to secure travel insurance when embarking on a cruise. According to the website, most cruise plans cover unexpected medical costs if a health emergency occurs during a trip.

“This is particularly important if you’re on an international cruise because most standard health insurance plans don’t cover treatment in a foreign country,” the site stated. “Paying a small amount for a travel insurance plan upfront can save you a huge amount of money in the long run if an emergency were to occur.”

In a desperate attempt to raise funds swiftly, loved ones have turned to mobile payment apps like Zelle and CashApp. Donors can Zelle a donation to her daughter’s number, 706-616-0147, or use the cash tag $AldesBrooks to send money through CashApp.