Posted by John Dugaw MD. FAAFP

After the Covid Crisis ends, we will all be looking forward to our next overseas trip. Just remember to get Travel/Health Insurance, especially if you visit North America. 

Here is a warning from John Dugaw, Secretary of the Rotary Healthcare Professionals Group.


Greetings from sunny coastal Mississippi USA, We are fine, our neighbors in Louisiana are finally getting back electricity after the storm but sanity may never return there if it was ever present (if you have attended Mardi Gras Carnival in New Orleans, we lived there for a bit.).  Hopefully they will approach this disaster with their usual humor and avoid PTSD but I doubt it. Covid maybe going down but last weekend was our Covid Labor Day Holiday spreading parties here.. 

I get these messages periodically from a member..  I do look to see what I can do to help but at this time we have no members in Greece.  Here is the names redacted letter: 


Hi John, 

D-s P-------tros a member of my club is in Greece. She is in Piraeus, a small town near Athens.

Her father had a heart attack while traveling, and he's in a public hospital there. His condition is deteriorating--he now has sepsis and his kidneys are starting to fail. 

Des has been trying to get him transferred to a private hospital where the doctors may be better equipped to help him, but it seems that she needs a medical doctor's referral. 

Do you know any physicians in Greece?  

IRFHP LIfe member 


My guess is that the patient  did not have have travel insurance or a $50,000 limit credit card. Travel insurance is important for all Rotarians,   A Rotarian friend broke his hip on a trip to Athens, he had excellent travel insurance and received world class care at a private hospital.  This man may be getting very appropriate care and is dying from terrible disease. Greek physicians are as good as anywhere else. But there is probably not an option to go private.. 

Ginny and I carry $200,000  of travel and evacuation insurance that costs about $250 per year and works if we are more than 25 miles from home.  If you are planning to come to the Houston  RI convention be aware that healthcare in the USA for those without US based insurance is horribly expensive. A single trip to the emergency room can cost $2000.  I recently had a spinal MRI scan (because I am old and cranky?).  The hospital charge was over $4000 for just the scan. My insurance company contract with the hospital reduced that charge to $280 and I was responsible to pay $250. The hospital did not get $4000. The insurance paid $18.  However after that I had an outpatient epidural injection in a surgery center under C-arm Flouro and that was $1000 and I only paid $195 which is fine. I have great insurance and will never go bankrupt. 


Hospitals and doctors will negotiate but bills are still enormous. 

Be Safe. YIRFS   

John Dugaw MD. FAAFP  International Secretary IRFHP