For those of you who have ever wondered about the value of trip insurance and emergency evacuation insurance — it’s worth every red cent. If you don’t buy the concept, talk to Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventure’s Jim Klug.
“As someone who literally travels the globe for a living, I am more than aware that problems can occur at any time and in any place. That said, if I were to be completely honest, I have always been of the mind-set that actual accidents and medical situations were things that happened to other people and that as long as I was careful and stayed situationally aware at all times, I could avoid these types of problems when abroad. Recently, however, during a trip to Bolivia to photograph and fish for golden dorado, I received a healthy dose of reality that included an unexpected and serious medical situation and a Global Rescue evacuation from one of the most remote and isolated places in the world of fly-fishing,” Klug said.
On day three of the trip, Klug suffered blunt force trauma to his right eye that robbed him of his vision and left him with a serious concussion.
As two Bolivian natives poled him and his fishing partner downstream in a large dugout canoe, the front boatman attempted to push the boat off of an outcropping of rocks with his long, wooden push pole. The pole became wedged in the rocks, and because he didn’t want to lose it, he tried to pry it free. The boat continued to move downstream, causing the pole to bend like a loaded bow until he couldn’t hold it any longer. The pole sprang back and hit Klug directly in his right eye.
Klug was knocked out, and when he came to, he immediately knew the severity of the situation. They were still miles from the very remotely located main lodge, let alone civilization. Within minutes of the accident, Klug’s fishing partner was on the satellite phone calling Global Rescue, a medical evacuation and consultation company.
Global Rescue kicked things into high gear from several thousand miles away with long-distance doctor consultations and support procedures. Global Rescue spearheaded from that moment on. After getting Klug back to the lodge and stabilizing the injury, Global Rescue arranged for an air evacuation early the following morning to a hospital in the Bolivian capital city of Santa Cruz. From there, Klug was flown back to Miami the following day and met with several doctors, including eye specialists.
While the Global Rescue team was fantastic on all levels, the other team that really deserves recognition is the staff of Tsimane’s Asunta Lodge. The entire team was fantastic, Klug said, and representatives of the organization were in contact with Global Rescue from the beginning.