Comatose tourist was inadequately insured - report

Unfortunate incident highlights the need for travel insurance, says industry insider

Comatose tourist was inadequately insured - report

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A Chinese tourist who contracted an unknown disease while on holiday in Bali, Indonesia has been in a coma for nine days. According to an industry insider, the untoward incident serves as a warning for travellers that go overseas without adequate cover.

Yang Ting, a 33-year-old resident of Chongqing City, came down with a fever while on vacation in Bali with a friend. She lost consciousness on July 05, and was rushed to the hospital. Doctors told her family that she had a severe lung infection caused by an “unknown virus” and that her condition was deteriorating.

The doctors suggested that Yang should be transferred to either Singapore on Chongqing for better medical care. However, an international chartered flight could cost around RMB800,000 (US$117,800), which was a huge challenge to the Yang family’s finances.

“She has been very healthy with no major illnesses,” Xiao Shuqin, Yang’s mother, told China Daily. “We can hardly afford the chartered flight, or even the hospital cost here.”

Through the donations of Yang’s friends and colleagues, as well as the sale of some property, the family was able to raise the amount needed to bring her home.

“We hope to bring her back on Friday,” Xiao said.

China’s tourism authorities require travel agencies to purchase insurance for all their clients. But according to Ma Senhu, general manager of Chongqing Holiday International Travel Agency, Yang was not covered since the disease that afflicted her was unknown.

“The ordinary travel accident insurance purchased by travel agencies can cover up to RMB300,000 if a tourist dies in an accident during travel, but it does not cover underlying diseases,” Ma told China Daily.

He added that before boarding a plane, travellers should purchase travel insurance that also covers overseas medical expenses and rescue. While these policies are quite cheap at around RMB100 (US$), Ma lamented that many Chinese travellers are unaware of the importance of having insurance.

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