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Woman from medical team attending to patient in Singapore

Case Study

Medical Repatriation to Singapore During a Small Window of Opportunity



A commercial repatriation was requested by the family of a 67-year-old Singaporean patient who had undergone surgery at a hospital in Bangkok due to pain experienced in the lower abdominal region. Due to post-operative complications, the patient was deemed unfit to be repatriated commercially. In response, International SOS had to work closely with the hospitals, and the patient’s family in identifying a potential window of opportunity for the patient to be repatriated. 


Based on our medical team’s assessment, a slow recovery process was expected due to the patient’s complicated medical history. Additionally, with the concern of a lapse in continuity of care during the transfer, it meant that the repatriation process timeline had to be re-evaluated. 

This led to the challenge of determining an exact timeline for repatriation as it depended heavily on the patient’s recovery progress. The situation was further complicated by the patient’s erratic condition, where the patient’s vitals would seemingly be within the normal range in the day but would take an unexpected turn later in the night.


Due to the delicate state of the patient and the need for continuous care during the transfer, our experts determined that an air ambulance and a critical care escort team was needed for repatriation, as opposed to a commercial one. The critical care team consisted of one doctor and one nurse who were responsible for carrying out the required medical actions of the patient throughout the flight.

Acknowledging that there would only be a small window of opportunity to execute the repatriation process, an open line of constant communication with both the hospitals, and the patient’s family was necessary. This was an ongoing process from the day of admission on 8 October till the evacuation date on 9 November. By doing so, it enabled our experts to receive regular updates on the patient’s progress from the hospital in Bangkok, and for us to react accordingly. We also translated these updates to the hospital in Singapore, which was critical in the development of the most appropriate post-treatment care.

Additionally, our team was also in constant communication with the patient’s family, providing them with the reassurance that their objective to repatriate the patient as early as possible was being met. Such assistance was expressed by the family to be especially valuable given the patient’s extended hospital stay, and the patient’s family’s limited accessibility to the patient due to the geographical distance.


With these solutions in place, the repatriation back into Singapore was successful, and the patient was able to continue their recovery process close to family. The ability for our team to be provided with daily medical updates of the patient’s condition is a result of our strong network capabilities with the hospitals, both in Bangkok and Singapore, and aviation team.