In January 2016, Global Rescue member Kevin Koval and his friends set out for an eight-day motorcycle trip across South Africa. On the second day, the team cruised along the route to Cape Town, enjoying the freedom of the open road.
“My buddies and I do a trip like this every year,” said Koval.
Before the day was over, however, things would take a bad turn.
While riding through the country of Lesotho, Koval hit a series of rocks and was thrown off the road, down an embankment, and into a boulder field. His bike fell over the side of a cliff. Koval had broken his tibia and fibula, leaving him unable to ride along with the rest of the group to Cape Town.
To his relief, Koval was assisted by a local who made him a temporary splint for Koval’s lower leg out of nothing more than a tire iron, jumper cables and tape.
Injured and in unfamiliar territory, Koval searched for cellphone service. As soon as he got it, he immediately called Global Rescue.
Koval was transported to a nearby medical facility that had been vetted by Global Rescue’s Operations team.
“Global Rescue said, ‘Let us check it all out and make sure it’s a good facility. If it’s not then we’ll find another place and mobilize you to wherever you need to go,’” Koval recounted.
From thousands of miles away, Global Rescue was with him every step of the way.
“The Global Rescue team was calling every half hour just to check in, and it was fantastic. I got to the hospital and had surgery the next day on my leg,” said Koval.
To oversee his care, Global Rescue deployed a critical care paramedic to Koval’s hospital bedside in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Koval was pleasantly surprised.
“I didn’t have anyone with me since all of my buddies kept going. They had to get to Cape Town and just kept riding, so I felt like I had an advocate there with Global Rescue.”
While Koval recovered from having surgery, Global Rescue arranged to transport him back home to New York.
“It was a great flight. Global Rescue’s paramedic took care of everything, and made a less than desirable experience a good one. He kept me informed of everything, so it wasn’t the fear of the unknown for me. He took a lot of the stress off me in figuring out how to get home. When we did get to my house, the paramedic explained all of the medications to my girlfriend, making sure it was a smooth hand-off.”
Koval noted, “What started as an epic adventure turned into an epic failure. In the end, it really wasn’t a big deal because of the service that Global Rescue provided. I’ve had a lot of people inquire, ‘What was that rescue service you had?’ I’ve referred quite a few people to Global Rescue because of how wonderful an experience it was. Global Rescue really made my ordeal so much easier, just not having to worry about a thing.”
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