Tappahannock woman stuck abroad after she suffered medical injury on a cruise: 'You feel kind of helpless'

Posted at 9:50 PM, Oct 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-12 14:42:19-04

TAPPAHANNOCK, Va. -- Just days ago, Rachel Matthew said her mother, Denise Hammond who is from Tappahannock, fell and broke her hip and elbow while aboard an international cruise.

Matthews is concerned because she says her mom still has not received the treatment she was originally told she needed.

Hammond was on a month-long trip cruise around the Pacific when the injury happened.

“It was crazy you don’t ever expect those things to happen,” Matthews said.

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Rachel Matthews

According to Matthews, doctors on the ship took care of her mom for three days until they got to the next port in Indonesia.

They then transferred her mom to a hospital to receive the surgery she needed.

At the time, Matthews reflected on how she initially assumed her mom would get the care she would need because she had travel insurance.

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However, she said she got a call from her mom saying the hospital conditions were not clean and the equipment was outdated.

Hammond said doctors also told her they weren’t familiar with her condition and even if they were - they did not have the equipment that was needed.

“You feel kind of helpless. Like what am I supposed to do for her when she is all the way over there,” Matthews shared.

Since that call, Matthews has spent the last three days making dozens of calls to get her mom to a hospital in another country.

A quote from the doctor and insurance company said it would cost a minimum of $40,000 just to transport her mom to a hospital in Singapore, according to Matthews.

She added that her mom’s travel insurance which she purchased before the trip and included medical evacuation has not kicked in.

“There are caps to the benefits and getting a surgery overseas is going to go way outside of those gaps. These are urgent issues that can cause permanent damage,” explained Matthews.

She is now turning to her community for help, and created a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of transporting her mother to another hospital.

Hammond told her mom she was scared that she would remain stuck in Indonesia.

“She just wants to get out of there. I just want my mom. I want her home, but I want her safe,” she said.

Mathews said no option is off the table for getting her mom home.

They are continuing to work with the travel insurance company, lawmakers, and the U.S. Embassy.

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