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Ecuadorian Navy Rescues Bezos After Kidney Stone Attack 190

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."
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Ecuadorian Navy Rescues Bezos After Kidney Stone Attack

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  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:33PM (#45871915)

    You can get international travel insurance that will cover the cost of emergency medical evacuation back to the USA. You don't have to be a billionaire to afford it. I used to do a lot of international travel and would purchase a policy that covered me for one year. As I recall, the cost was only around $350.

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:35PM (#45871933)

    Ordinary people get treated like that too. []

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

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

    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.

  • 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.

  • by Radak ( 126696 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @04:04PM (#45872587) Journal

    Airlifting people with medical emergencies from the Galapagos Islands to the Ecuadorian mainland is part of the Equadorian Navy's job description. You'd have received the same treatment and so would I.

    Now, the quality of the medical care you receive afterwards might be affected by your wealth or influence, but the airlift is something they do for anybody who needs it, and it happens all the time. The only reason this is "news" is because of the notoriety of the patient, not because of the airlift.

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

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @04:05PM (#45872589) Homepage Journal

    Aussie here. Its weird how expensive things can be in the US. I know US people here in Melbourne who flew back to Aus for treatment because they didn't have medical insurance while on a visit to the US. Its also funny how the best serious treatment is in the public system here. The private system will get your nose job faster but on the spot life saving surgury will be in a public hospital.

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

    by ThatsMyNick ( 2004126 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @04:15PM (#45872665)

    If you are in the sea, the US coast guard would gladly do that. They will usually bill you for it, though it is likely covered by your insurance for medical evacuation.

  • 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.

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