Do I Need Vacation Insurance?Kim Inman
written by Jennifer Hart, Travel Specialist
This is a blog post that never crossed my mind. I NEVER thought I would have a reason to share this information, much less know it first hand. However, circumstances surrounding our vacation a couple of weeks ago put me in a situation to not only find the answers, but the need medical care while vacationing at Disney World.
First, let me tell you our story….we arrive at WDW on Friday afternoon and enjoyed four full days at the parks. On Tuesday afternoon, my middle son started coughing quite a bit. By Tuesday night he was coughing so hard he couldn’t sleep. I watched him breathing and his breathing rate seemed a little fast. I ran a hot shower and had him sit in the steamy shower until his cough eased up and sent him back to bed. Wednesday morning we woke up, prepared to head to Magic Kingdom. He said he did NOT want to go because he didn’t feel like it (this was Clue #1 that something was wrong). So my husband offered to stay with him for the morning while I took the other two to Magic Kingdom. We planned to park hop in the afternoon for a few hours at Epcot. Around 2:00 I headed back to Kidani Village to relieve my husband. When I got to the room my son still seemed to be breathing a little fast. He tends to be a bit dramatic at times, so I didn’t give it much thought. I really wanted him to try to nap since he didn’t sleep well the night before. I just knew if he napped he would feel up to eating a little and heading to meet the family for a little time at Epcot. He dozed off in the living room. I was in the bedroom folding laundry and doing a little work for clients. I went in to check on him and immediately noticed that his breathing rate was too fast for him to be at rest…it was NOT normal. I put my hand on his chest and could feel his little heart beating a mile a minute. I decided he needed to be seen by a doctor.
Earlier in the morning, we had talked to the concierge desk asking for a couple of options should we need a doctor. They had recommended the Medical Concierge and gave us a card with the contact information. The Medical Concierge is a medical clinic that will actually send a doctor to your hotel room. They are NOT affiliated with Disney World, so they will visit other hotels in the area too. So I called them around 5:30pm. The nurse asked me if it was an emergency, I said no. I explained that he seemed to be breathing fast, but didn’t seem to be having a problem breathing. I went on to say(and these words haunt me to this day), “I may just be a paranoid mommy.” She took all our information…and it was A LOT of information, imagine a new patient form done over the phone…and said she would send a doctor within the hour. I was already impressed! No drive to a clinic full of sick people, no waiting for hours in a waiting room. I could sit in the comfort of our hotel room and within an hour a doctor would be there. At 6:15 the doctor arrived. She came in, opened the windows turned on all the lights, washed her hands and sat down to talk to us. She asks what is going on and again I explain. She has a concerned look on her face as she pulls out the monitor to attach to his finger. Her concerned look intensifies as she sees the numbers. She takes it off and readjusts it and again she looks at his numbers. She gives me a sideways look…these numbers mean NOTHING to me…and she says “Mom, he is in trouble. I need to call 911.” His oxygen level was low, his heart rate was WAY TOO HIGH, and he was breathing 3 times as fast as he should. She started handing me forms to sign and started placing phone calls. I sat in shock starring at my son. It dawned on me that my son was not understanding what was going on. He is 10, but he couldn’t wrap his mind around the situation either and he was scared. The doctor helped me get the paper work done and made her necessary calls. Then we tried to explain to my son what was going to happen. I quickly tried to grab phone chargers, iPad and charger, and a few other things while we waited on the ambulance to arrive. The paramedics arrived and took checked his levels again. The oxygen level was a little higher, but it was obvious he was still not breathing normal. They loaded him on the stretcher, put him on oxygen and out the door we went. There is nothing more surreal on vacation than following a stretcher down the hallway….several people gave him a smile and wished him good luck. Once in the Ambulance they started him on a breathing treatment and took us to the ER at Celebration Hospital.
The medical staff worked with him trying to get us back to our vacation, but his levels were not responding to their efforts. Around 10pm they decided this was not going to be a treat and go home situation and that he would need to be admitted. This meant moving hospitals as Celebration did not have a pediatric unit. So another ambulance took us to Florida’s Hospital for Children. We were admitted and to wrap up this long story, we ended up spending 2 nights in the hospital before my son was released.
I share our story for a several reasons…
1.) Our story alone is a good reason to consider adding the Vacation Protection Plan. Through Disney World it is $75.95 per adult and it covers the kids as well. Insurance is also available and HIGHLY recommended on cruises. The cost is not a set fee on cruises but a percentage of your cruise fare. You NEVER know when you might be the person or family who needs it. I have not purchased it in the past, but in the future I will be adding it to our packages. For details on WDW and DCL Vacation Protection Plan click the links below.
2.) If you find yourself needing medical care while at Disney World, ask your concierge desk for suggestions. We were thankful for the Medical Concierge coming to our room. I cannot truly give you much of a review on our experience other than they got us the help we needed, they were prompt to send a doctor, and the staff was very friendly and helpful.
3.) If you find yourself in the Orlando area and you need a hospital…I cannot say enough about the staff at the Florida Hospital for Children….they were amazing in every way. They took such good care of my son. Through his tears over missing out on vacation they did their best to reassure him and to lift his spirits. Once it was decided that he was being released, I explained that it was out last day at Disney World. I told them he had an appointment at Pirates League and that we planned on going to the Halloween Party that night and they went above and beyond to get us out of there as fast as possible.
Our vacation did not go at all as we had planned…but my son is healthy thanks to the care he received and there will be other vacations! So for now I choose to be thankful for a healthy kiddo.