My Experience with Black Bag: Half Way Around the World
Having traveled around the world for Room to Read, I know, too well, the dangers of getting sick far from home. A recent scary illness during a site visit to South Africa exemplified the complexity of getting medical treatment in a foreign country. Early one day, my face began to swell as if I were having either an allergic reaction or getting some type of infection. Trying not to panic, I immediately began thinking through the process. Would the local medical providers be able to diagnose and treat my condition? Would they understand my own medical history? As I was half way around the world and in the middle of a two-week business trip, I needed immediate medical treatment.
Thankfully, I am a client of Black Bag and I just called them. Dr. Chris Sidford helped me diagnose my illness as a spider bite on my face. Without hesitation, he instructed me on exactly what medications to take from my Black Bag before I traveled on to my next destination in Sri Lanka. What’s more, while I traveled for the next week, Dr. Sidford spoke with me at least twice a day to guide me through the progression of medical symptoms.
Unfortunately, my journey through this illness was not finished. When I developed severe eye pain and difficulty with my vision, Dr. Sidford personally arranged a visit for me with a Walter Reed-trained ophthalmologist in Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, he gave me invaluable guidance on the right questions to ask and the suggested medical treatment options. Given my transient status, the ophthalmologist was reluctant to provide one of the necessary medications, but Dr. Sidford was able to resolve this impasse by providing details of a follow-up ophthalmology visit already scheduled to take place in Hong Kong two days later.
Fortunately, my illness gradually resolved. But, to be safe, Dr. Sidford arranged for a final ophthalmic evaluation within 24 hours of my returning to San Francisco. What’s more, he made the process easy and seamless, sending all of my medical records, including my visit to Ho Chi Minh City, to my home ophthalmologist.
This whole bizarre experience was scary and could have been life threatening, but it taught me a very important lesson. When I’m on the other side of the world, no matter what the medical emergency, it is crucial to know that a highly qualified doctor is available to me every minute of the journey. I am so grateful to Dr. Sidford for his expertise and support that bought me back to good health and allowed me to continue on my journey of educating kids to read in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Hong Kong.
– John Wood, Founder of Room to Read
Our Holiday Experience with Black Bag: My Wifeʼs Overseas Medical Emergency
While on holiday in Spain, my wife suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was rushed into the local hospital and placed into intensive care. With a health care staff that spoke very limited English, ahead of us was an unknown journey.
Now, at 2 a.m. with my wife in the hospital, I was frantically calling relatives not knowing the standard of healthcare with which I had left her. The medical staff was advising me of the treatment options and the prognosis but I had no one to help with the decisions or share my concerns. My day-to-day work is around managing risk in the oil industry, but this melts into insignificance when trying to manage risk with your loved one.
Then, through a relative of mine, I came in contact with Dr. Chris Sidford at Black Bag. Calmly collecting information about the illness, the location, the hospital and the physicians, within a short period of time, Dr. Sidford was able to respond with confirmation that the hospital and physicians were of the highest standard and that the proposed treatment was in line with expert opinion. This gave me confidence in the decisions I had to make. What’s more, when circumstances changed, his 24/7 availability was like having an expert alongside me in Spain. Thank you Dr. Sidford and Black Bag.
– Julian Hockney, England
My Experience with Black Bag: A Parentʼs Worst Fears
One of my worst fears as a parent is that something will happen to my children when they are far from home and I can’t be there to help them. This is exactly what happened to my family, and if it weren’t for Black Bag, I don’t know where we would be today.
My son is a first year analyst in New York. For weeks he said that he wasn’t feeling well and, although he visited an emergency room that diagnosed him as having the flu, he wasn’t feeling any better and his symptoms were getting worse. One night he had severe throat pain, was searching the internet for his ailment and anxiety was beginning to set in. Then, in the middle of the night, I got the phone call. He thought he had black mold and was quite panicked. I became very anxious and felt helpless being hundreds of miles away.
Fortunately, I am a client of Black Bag. It was 11:30 P.M. when I picked up the phone and called Dr. Chris Sidford. Dr Sidford answered the phone immediately. He then spoke with my son to understand his symptoms and history. Based on my son’s symptoms, Dr. Sidford was quickly able to rule out that my son did not have black mold, put in place triaging priorities for his symptoms (i.e., if this happens, you should do this; if this happens, you should do this, etc.) and alleviated our collective anxiety. Based on the constellation of
symptoms and the duration of the symptoms, Dr Sidford prescribed the appropriate medication for my son.
Fortunately, shortly after Dr Sidford’s intervention, my son returned to good health. During our ordeal, it was extremely comforting to have Dr. Sidford caring for us. His calming presence, professionalism, responsiveness, medical assessment and medical connections with key providers where my son lived were a blessing. His help is priceless. Thank you Black Bag and Dr. Sidford for helping me with my worst fear.
– Susan M., Boston, MA