Successful evacuation of a critically ill patient during the COVID-19 pandemic


International SOS successfully evacuated a critically ill patient diagnosed with cancer for a Malaysian listed plantation company from Malaysia to Indonesia during COVID-19 pandemic. 


Service: Medical Evacuation
Location: Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia



We received a call from our client, a multi-national plantation-based company, requesting medical support to evacuate their plantation worker back to Lombok, Indonesia. The patient, a 46-year-old male, was diagnosed with cancer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the client faced unprecedented challenges including closure of international borders, caring for a bedridden patient, attaining optimal transportation, in-flight medical care by certified escort medical specialists and approvals to travel from various authorities in both countries – Malaysia and Indonesia. 




Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta Assistance Centres were activated immediately for ground and air ambulance arrangements. There was coordination with the local hospital, local authorities for medical reports, travel documents, flight and landing permits from both countries. With our experiences in medical evacuation, all required documentation submitted met the requirements and protocol for prevention and control of COVID-19 imposed by the Ministry of Health of both countries, Malaysia & Indonesia. 


We received all clearances from the health authorities, the immigration offices and the aviation authorities in less than 4 days. On the day of the evacuation, the Assistance team in Kuala Lumpur: 


  • ensured smooth ground ambulance transfer from hospital to airport
  • assisted the bedridden patient in immigration clearance at 3 airports – Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Lombok
  • ensured the patient handover to our Jakarta air ambulance’s escort team at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport


The impact was very positive as the patient arrived safely to their home country and reunited with his family in the shortest time possible. We were able to provide high-quality care during the whole process and supported our client in fulfilling their Duty of Care for their worker in a challenging business environment.