Difficult Diagnosis in Cambodia

Tue Jun 05 09:00:00 EDT 2018

Nancy Hunsicker plays with a snake at the Bangkok floating market.

Nancy Hunsicker was traveling through Asia with her husband and friends on a small-ship cruise trip and eagerly awaiting their stop in Cambodia.

“The one thing I wanted to do in Asia was to see Siem Reap and Angkor Wat,” she said.

The day before the group was to disembark for the overland trip in Cambodia, Nancy woke up at 3 AM with extreme abdominal pain.

Dismissing the pain as something she could “get through,” Nancy continued on the excursion with the group. “I tramped through the whole day in Phnom Penh—saw palaces, museums, gardens, took pictures, posted on social media—and by the end of the day, I was even more miserable.”

Nancy knew something was seriously wrong. “I’ve never felt like that before. I work out, I eat carefully—I’m as healthy as a horse.”

After another hard night —“at some point I woke up and I was just shrieking” — Nancy and her husband decided to call in a local doctor. Concluding that Nancy did not have appendicitis and most likely had food poisoning, the doctor gave her antibiotics and painkillers to try to relieve some of the symptoms.

Hours later, Nancy saw no improvement. When the doctor came back early in the morning to examine her again, he explained that, in fact, his previous diagnosis was incorrect. He still wasn’t sure what it was, but he knew it was more serious than food poisoning. That’s when Nancy’s husband called Global Rescue.

Global Rescue quickly identified and contacted a world-class hospital nearby. The Global Rescue Operations team arranged for an ambulance to be sent to transport Nancy to the facility for immediate medical attention.

“I had a burst appendix. The reason the first doctor was confused is that it turns out my appendix was abnormally situated on the opposite side of my body. I damn near died,” said Nancy. “Global Rescue got me to the hospital and were great all the way through. It was a huge comfort.”

Nancy underwent surgery at the hospital and remained for several days to recover. “It was an incredibly immersive cultural experience—just not the one I planned on,” she recalled.

“Global Rescue personnel called several times a day and talked to my husband, the doctors, and me. Global Rescue evaluated copies of everything, asked questions, critiqued, made suggestions, and made sure I got the anti-coagulant shot so I could safely get on a plane to Hong Kong post-surgery,” Nancy said.

Global Rescue continued to monitor Nancy during her trip to Hong Kong and as she returned home to the United States, safely and without any complications. “It couldn’t have been more seamless,” she said.

Nancy Hunsicker and her husband in Hong Kong 10 days after her surgery.

Looking back, Nancy realized she never thought she would be the one to need Global Rescue. She had insisted that her friends and family become Global Rescue members in case something happened during the trip.

“The funny thing is, the people I travel with are all older than I am—rather significantly—so I encouraged everybody to get Global Rescue, thinking, ‘We’ll take care of the older ones.’ Then here it is me needing Global Rescue’s help.”

Nancy continued, “It was a very scary situation. Global Rescue didn’t scoop me up out of the jungle or the side of a mountain, but if it hadn’t been for Global Rescue, I don’t know what we would have done. Global Rescue is really good any time you’re 100 miles from home. Even if I’m not traveling abroad, I often go out of town and show horses where I could get hurt. I wouldn’t be without Global Rescue.”


A few months post-surgery, Nancy was back in the saddle, showing her horse.

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