Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Transportation

Ecuadorian Navy Rescues Bezos After Kidney Stone Attack 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the fly-me-away dept.
theodp writes "While vacationing aboard a cruise ship in the Galapagos Islands, where the State Department warns the quality of medical facilities and services are 'generally well below U.S. standards', Gawker reports that Jeff Bezos was rescued by the Ecuadorian Navy so he could receive treatment for a kidney stone attack on New Year's Day. The Ecuadorian Navy confirmed Bezos' rescue, which involved taking Bezos by Navy helicopter from Academy Bay in Santa Cruz Island to his private jet stationed on Baltra Island."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ecuadorian Navy Rescues Bezos After Kidney Stone Attack

Comments Filter:
  • Wait What? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I thought the US had the worst medical system in the world. Whats this? A Socialist country (actually half of the politicians in Ecuador are communists) has worse medical treatment? That just doesn't seem right. State run medical facilities are ALWAYS better, or so I was told by the NYT.

    LOL. I love these stories where reality just smacks the left in the face.

    • Re:Wait What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:30PM (#45871889)

      I thought the US had the worst medical system in the world. Whats this? A Socialist country (actually half of the politicians in Ecuador are communists) has worse medical treatment? That just doesn't seem right.

      Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is, if you are looking for the best medical system for your population as a whole, it will look somewhat socialist. On the other hand, the US is well known to have one of the very best medical systems in the world -- if you have a lot of money. And then when you start talking about money, you start talking about medical insurance rather than medical skill or medical facilities, or the amount of money that doctors or drug manufacturers should earn for providing the care, and then suddenly we're talking politics and not where to find the right doctors.

      • also talking about money in the us you can get X10-X100+ markup on costs as well.

        • by Cyberax (705495)
          Markup on actual salaries is not that large. Typically private hospitals have less than 15% of profit margin - it's healthy but definitely not something to write home about.

          Now, medical equipment manufacturers are profiteers. For example, a 1L bag of sterile IV saline solution costs $300 - that's literally 100x markup. And I'm not kidding - I have it in my medical bill from my stay in a hospital a couple of months ago. Drugs are even worse: oral vancomycin costs $500 per one dose - it can be bought for $5
      • by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @03:41PM (#45872411)
        Yeah, the next time I'm feeling under the weather I'm sure the US Navy will be happy to send a helicopter to pick me up, right?
      • Just about any service is better in a large city than in a remote area with hardly any people.
      • by Dan667 (564390)
        statistics don't backup your statement that US health are is good. It ranks pretty crappy as far as first world countries go.
    • Re:Wait What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by hawguy (1600213) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:32PM (#45871909)

      I thought the US had the worst medical system in the world. Whats this? A Socialist country (actually half of the politicians in Ecuador are communists) has worse medical treatment? That just doesn't seem right. State run medical facilities are ALWAYS better, or so I was told by the NYT.

      LOL. I love these stories where reality just smacks the left in the face.

      Right, you'd think that an island chain with an immense population of 25,000 people would have top-rate medical care, it must be the politics that's getting in the way.

    • Re:Wait What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sjames (1099) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:43PM (#45871987) Homepage

      If you're as rich as Bezos, health care in the U.S. isn't so bad. If you're poor, it is no better than what he was rescued from. You'll lie on the floor in your home in agony hoping the stone passes soon.

      • by langelgjm (860756) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @03:57PM (#45872525) Journal

        I had a kidney stone while travelling last month in South Africa. The pain developed over a day until I was doubled over on the floor, unable to concentrate on anything. At that point I realized I needed to go the hospital.

        I went to the ER and was admitted within about 15 minutes. They did blood and urine tests, gave me morphine (I assume it was morphine, it took the pain away completely) and IV fluids, then did a CT scan. A doctor saw me, and I was discharged in about five hours with a filter cup and antibiotics. The stone had made it through the ureter and was small enough to pass without issue.

        I paid for everything out of pocket. The total cost of ER admission, doctor's fee, CT scan + radiologist report, blood and urine tests, and IV fluids was USD $550. As far as I can tell, they did not charge me for the morphine, the antibiotics, or the filter cup. Also they gave me copies of my test results and a CD with my CT scan images, and I did not even have to ask for them.

        From what I hear, a CT scan alone can cost thousands of dollars in the U.S. In some ways I am glad that this happened when I was travelling... my co-pays back in the U.S. might have exceeded the entire cost in South Africa. I probably could have flown there, gone to the hospital, and flown home while still spending less than what it would have cost in the U.S. I really see why people do medical tourism. It could make sense even if you have insurance.

        I should note that this was a private hospital in Cape Town. The hospital was not fancy like we are used to seeing in the U.S., but the staff were professional and knowledgeable, and the quality of care was first rate.

        • by TechnoGrl (322690) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @04:22PM (#45872733)
          What they gave you - believe it or not - was Ibuprofen IV. Morphine will not take away the pain of kidney stones (it's that bad!) but massive ibuprofen takes the pain away in a really short time. Been there done (and screamed) that.
        • The hospital was not fancy like we are used to seeing in the U.S., but the staff were professional and knowledgeable, and the quality of care was first rate.

          Exactly the opposite here in the US (nice hospitals, asshole doctors that want antibiotics to fix everything), that's why it's so damn expensive.

        • I have had 5 kidney stone episodes in the last 30 years. The first one is scary because you have no idea what is happening. The rest are routine, more or less.

          Urine sample to check for blood and a simple x-ray ( CT Scan? Really?) and they send you home with Vicodin and tell you to drink lots of water. Hell, he could have gotten the RX and continued the cruise if he wanted.

          What a wus.

          • by sjames (1099)

            ( CT Scan? Really?)

            That's a perfect example of the problems in American medicine. We have a fairly inexpensive decades old technology that provides the needed information but it languishes in the corner so they can use the much more expensive (but not more useful for simple cases) technology even though it exposes the patient to considerably more radiation. Even so, a CT shouldn't cost nearly as much as it does.

    • It is the worst medical system in the world - for people who care what it costs. Statements like yours remind me of Mitt Romney's "What's the big deal? Borrow the money from your daddy and start a business!" comment - completely impervious to reality.
      • by ganjadude (952775)
        well to be fair, what is different in what he said, and what our government does? How much money do we borrow from china every year to keep our "business" going?
        • by Sique (173459)
          The difference is that your dad might not have money you can borrow. China has. And that's what's wrong with many of the silver-spoon-population, they take for granted what isn't. They think everything is easy because they had it easy, and they just don't have an idea why it shouldn't be easy for someone else.
    • by the_B0fh (208483)

      Are you really that stupid?

  • by captjc (453680) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:23PM (#45871841)

    He has Amazon Prime! I'm sure a drone has already been dispatched with his new kidney and a qualified surgeon.

  • its great to be king (Score:5, Informative)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:23PM (#45871845) Homepage Journal

    Hes got the cash to be treated like that, so more power to him. I don't really see how this is 'news', unless its more stoking fires of the 'class war' that is going on.

  • Wow, the new Obamacare requiring policies to include free ambulance service really went a lot further than I thought it would.
  • "Jeeves, bring around the Dassault Falcon 900EX [geekwire.com]. This hurts like HELL."

  • Not such a big deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by confused one (671304) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:32PM (#45871907)
    In the U.S., this would have been handled by a U.S. Coast Guard flight if a private helicopter flight could not be chartered. In the United States the Coast Guard is a separate entity because of the Constitutional limitations of\n having our standing army and navy act as a police force within our own borders. In Ecuador, the Coast Guard is part of their Navy. This is sort of being blown out of proportion by the media because of the lack of understanding where Navy = Coast Guard in this instance.
  • by Kagato (116051) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:37PM (#45871939)

    Business people who travel the world usually have global medical plans. Most of those plans include evacuation coverage. Medical transfers off a ship are customarily handled by a coast guard. I'm sure the insurance company had to pay for the service.

    If anything the insurance company saved a little money because Bezos already had the private jet in position and that saved them the cost of an airline ticket.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @03:10PM (#45872179) Homepage

      The tone and substance of this story is more than a little suspect. The hospital at Peurto Aoyra (the biggest one) is used to transporting people off island for various problems although kidney stones are usually just treated with morphine and fluids initially. They certainly could handle that. The place is sparse, but clean. The docs there are mostly military (the military, such as it is has a large presence on the island) the commercial airline is owned by the military, and, at least at Baltra (the main airport) there is no evidence of anything else but military aircraft (a grey 737 and a helicopter when I was there).

      So, the story line that the "Navy" "rescued" Bezos is a bit overdone. They shipped him to the mainland on a helicopter because that's pretty much the only way to get him to the mainland short of firing up a bigger aircraft. Like pretty much anybody else.

      Must be International Drama Queen Day or something.

      • by isorox (205688)

        The tone and substance of this story is more than a little suspect. The hospital at Peurto Aoyra (the biggest one) is used to transporting people off island for various problems although kidney stones are usually just treated with morphine and fluids initially. They certainly could handle that. The place is sparse, but clean. The docs there are mostly military (the military, such as it is has a large presence on the island) the commercial airline is owned by the military, and, at least at Baltra (the main airport) there is no evidence of anything else but military aircraft (a grey 737 and a helicopter when I was there).

        So, the story line that the "Navy" "rescued" Bezos is a bit overdone. They shipped him to the mainland on a helicopter because that's pretty much the only way to get him to the mainland short of firing up a bigger aircraft. Like pretty much anybody else.

        Must be International Drama Queen Day or something.

        Standard for island communities, Women in labour in the Isles of Scilly off the Cornish Coast get airlifted to hospital on the mainland by the RAF. For free of course, it's a civilised country.

    • by isorox (205688)

      Business people who travel the world usually have global medical plans. Most of those plans include evacuation coverage. Medical transfers off a ship are customarily handled by a coast guard. I'm sure the insurance company had to pay for the service.

      If anything the insurance company saved a little money because Bezos already had the private jet in position and that saved them the cost of an airline ticket.

      Personal travel insurance in the real world covers all that, and pretty much anyone in my country travelling internationally has it. Medical is not a cheap $5k plane ticket, a 4000 mile evac will easily cost 6 figures, in some cases 7 figures.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:39PM (#45871949)

    Have also been interested in these products, on sale for up to 30 percent off:

    http://www.amazon.com/Renavive-Natural-Treatment-Kidney-Capsules/dp/B00271CMTM

    http://www.amazon.com/Whole-World-Botanicals-Bladder-Support/dp/B0027E884M

    http://www.amazon.com/Margaritaville-Chillin-Pour-Liquor-Chiller/dp/B00418485K

    Remember to sign up for FREE Two-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime!

  • Everyone I know gets the Navy to come to their rescue for Medical problems.

    Why are people upset, I don't understand.

    -Hack

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      They're upset because they said there was a location that had worse medical care than the US. Obviously this isn't true.

    • Everyone I know gets the Navy to come to their rescue for Medical problems. Why are people upset, I don't understand.

      Apparently you don't. It turns out that in most moderately civilized countries - and also in the United States - if you need urgent medical care while on an isolated island and there aren't any other good transportation options then the government pitches in. In the U.S., the Coast Guard maintains a substantial fleet of search and rescue ships and aircraft which are frequently used for medical evacuations of patients from remote locations. If you Google using keywords like "medevac" and "coast guard', y

  • by ecotax (303198) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:41PM (#45871967)

    It's bullshit the navy rescued anyone here. Transported, helped - many verbs would have fitted better.
    Kidney stones supposedly hurt like hell (no personal experience here), but it's not something people generally die from.

    • Re:Rescued? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mpoulton (689851) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @03:03PM (#45872139)

      Kidney stones supposedly hurt like hell (no personal experience here), but it's not something people generally die from.

      They sure can be fatal. I would have died from a kidney stone if it weren't for modern medical technology. A stone which is too large to pass obstructs the ureter, which prevents the kidney from draining urine into the bladder. A kidney that can't drain will be permanently damaged and fail within a day or two. Worse, stones can become infected (as mine did), resulting in a kidney infection which will rapidly cause permanent damage and will progress to sepsis and death within days.

      • Kidney stones supposedly hurt like hell (no personal experience here), but it's not something people generally die from.

        They sure can be fatal. I would have died from a kidney stone if it weren't for modern medical technology. A stone which is too large to pass obstructs the ureter, which prevents the kidney from draining urine into the bladder.

        Yep. Kidney stones are scary as hell, I was pissing myself in terror before realizing it was a relief.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        You can live without a kidney. So you probably wouldn't die from that, no matter how painful it was. Infection (pyelonephritis) on the other hand is a very real although minute possibility and its more often seen with stones made of struvite. Those are pretty rare. So combine the chance of the stone being large enough to obstruct (small possibility) with the chance of it being struvite (small possibility) combined with the chance of it getting infected (small possibility) and it's highly unlikely you would
    • A kidney stone attack can have very similar symptoms to an acute appendicitis (searing pain around the abdominal area, vomiting) which qualifies as an emergency. It is possible that an accurate diagnosis could not be performed on site.

      Other than that, kidney stones are among the most painful afflictions there are. Patients are best brought to a place where windows can't be opened as some may decide to jump out on the spot. They will do anything to get the pain to stop, and a guy like Bezos just happens to h

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      No, usually the treatment is morphine or fentanyl for the pain, an anticholinergic (over the counter in most countries) to calm down the ureter's spasms and peristaltic movements, and then waiting until it gets expelled. It's usually a good idea to get some sort of imaging (x-ray) to ensure that the stone is small enough to pass without trouble. I am sure ALL of the above could have been dealt with in any 3rd world hospital. But obviously His Majesty did not want to mix with the plebs.
  • Kidney Stones (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @03:10PM (#45872181)

    The general "treatment" for kidney stones to to fill the patient full of pain killers and/or smooth muscle relaxants and wait. Later an ultrasound would be done to see if other measures need to be taken. Kidney stones [wikipedia.org] are rarely if ever life threatening; They are just very painful.

  • I'm sorry, I can't accept any argument that lauds the US healthcare sys^h^h^h business as being worthy of comparison.
  • by WillyWanker (1502057) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @03:49PM (#45872461)

    That the kidney stone will serve a life sentence for this unprovoked attack on one of the world's most respected businessmen and all-around asshole?

  • everyone who gives a shit and thinks this is news worthy raise your hand..

    • everyone who gives a shit and thinks this is news worthy raise your hand..

      Yep. I don't have any stock in Amazon or its competitors. It's about as tech related as Steve Jobs' health or lack thereof. I mean, it would be as relevant to tech news as, say, if Steve Ballmer was possibly Microsoft, or if Google CEOs were saying terrifying things about privacy. Absolutely no consequence whatsoever. I mean really. Next thing you know they'll be listing news about video games I don't play or, alternate operating systems I don't use, or political rights online I haven't had since the 8

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @05:35PM (#45873205)

    Jeff Bezos went on a cruise? Did he suddenly turn 80 or something?

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      No, he's a CEO. Ergo he delegates his work to other people and takes it easy while raking in millions a year in salary and stock options. Life is so hard.
  • Obviously he can afford the Doc Wagon evacuation plan.

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

Working...