From USA TODAY:
Feeling sick on a cruise? Be careful what you tell the ship's doctor, lest you suddenly find yourself abandoned on an island far from home.
That, it seems, is the take-away from a front page story this morning in the Tampa Tribune, which reports that Carnival Cruise Lines put a sick passenger ashore on the Honduran island of Roatan last week rather than try to treat him on board.
The paper says 89-year-old Jack Clevenger was celebrating his birthday with his family on the Carnival Legend when he experienced some strange symptoms including blood in his mouth and in his stool. He visited the ship's doctor, who concluded he had internal bleeding and told him he needed to seek medical attention off the ship. The paper says the line then asked him to leave at the next port, which was Roatan.
"They treated us with utter disregard for our safety," Clevenger tells the paper, noting that he and his son had to scramble to find a way off the island and back to the United States on their own. "If we hadn't have had a little bit of money with us, we'd still be in Honduras."
A Carnival spokeswoman told the paper the vessel was about to embark on a two-day sea crossing where it would have been tough to evacuate Clevenger if his condition worsened. Putting him off the ship was the most prudent course.
The Tribune says it took Clevenger and his son two days, three flights and $2,500 to get home to Florida, where Clevenger checked into a hospital. The paper says Clevenger did not have travel insurance, which would have covered some or all of the cost of getting him from the ship to the nearest hospital (or, in some cases, all the way home).