Atlanta/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on May 24, 2024
LaGrange Woman Faces $100,000 Medical Crisis in Dominican Republic, Community Rallies for Her ReturnSource: Unsplash/ Ruddy Corporan

In a harrowing account of a vacation turned disaster, 54-year-old Lorretta Cox from LaGrange experienced what was meant to be a dream cruise but escalated into a nightmare medical emergency. Cox, who has congestive heart failure, found herself in a life-threatening situation when she suddenly could not breathe while aboard the Carnival Cruise heading to the Bahamas. She was then left in the Dominican Republic after collapsing on her path to get her asthma pump, as reported by FOX 5 Atlanta.

"She collapsed on her way to the room and couldn’t breathe," Aldes Brooks, Cox's daughter, told FOX 5 Atlanta in a distressing revelation. An immediate ambulance ride to the nearest hospital's intensive care unit was required, a trip which alone cost the family $28,000. To make things worse, the woman's lungs filled with fluid, and local doctors were forced to place her on a ventilator – the medical costs quickly skyrocketing and the travel insurance failing to cover expenses abroad.

The international ordeal has led Brooks to desperately seek financial support. Brooks has launched an online fundraiser after maxing out credit cards and shelling out tens of thousands of dollars all in an attempt to get her mother home for proper care. "We’ve maxed out credit cards, we’ve done everything we could do to try to get her home," Brooks emphatically said in an interview obtained by FOX 5 Atlanta. According to Brooks, the family anticipates the total emergency costs to exceed $100,000.

Fortunately, thanks to community efforts, Cox was expected to be flown back to the United States. "In just one day, they received the necessary amount to get Cox flown by AirEvac Lifeteam to Broward Health in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They are scheduled to land at 2:30 a.m. Friday," Brooks expressed gratitude to Atlanta News First. Cox's mother, still in a medically-induced coma, illustrates a stark warning on the importance of obtaining international travel insurance that covers medical emergencies abroad. As advised by Brooks, who now understands the full extent of such unforeseen events, "Purchase that and read the fine print and make sure stuff like this is covered," she urged during an interview with Atlanta News First. The State Department echoes her advice, advising travelers to ensure their insurance plan covers a comprehensive list of potential issues including medical care, transport, and durations of travel.

The community's response to the family's plea for help turned tide to their crisis. With assistance pooled from friends, church members, and strangers, Brooks detailed the overwhelming support, saying, "She would help anyone. She never meets a stranger, and the community has shown that through the love and support," a testament to the compassion and solidarity in times of need, as Brooks narrated to Atlanta News First. For those wishing to contribute to the family's cause, donations can still be made through the online fundraiser or via Cash App to $AldesBrooks.