Recovering From a Stroke


When you are abroad, it can be difficult to negotiate the local healthcare systems. How do you know if the standard of medical care provided is adequate? If you are faced with a life-threatening event, then accessing appropriate medical treatment is absolutely critical.

This case study describes how we evacuated a member who had a stroke to a centre of medical excellence. We also arranged for the member’s family to be at his bedside, coordinated first-rate medical care, and monitored his condition until he made a full recovery.  

Service: International SOS membership

Location: Moscow, Russia


Jane Nichols was worried. Her husband Darryl, an employee at a multinational construction company, hadn't returned from his business trip to Moscow. A call from his colleague indicated that that he had been taken to a local hospital there.  The medics who transported Darryl were not certain of his condition, but thought he might have had a stroke. Jane knew her husband had International SOS membership so she immediately called the Philadelphia Assistance Centre for help.



Jane spoke to a customer service executive who took details of the case. The previous evening Darryl had been to dinner with colleagues. He indicated that he did not feel well and laid his head on the table. Minutes later, his colleagues helped him to his hotel room. When they went to check on him two hours later, Darryl was unconscious. The paramedics were called. Unknowingly, they thought he was drunk and pumped his stomach. Darryl had a seizure on the way to the Emergency Room.

Jane was put in touch Dr Myles Druckman, an International SOS doctor, who believed the medical care Darryl was receiving treatment in Moscow was inadequate. Dr Druckman spoke to the local doctor in Moscow treating Darryl, and confirmed he had a hemorrhagic stroke. Darryl was unconscious on a ventilator; his right side was partially paralysed.

International SOS conducted a medically supervised evacuation moving him to a renowned hospital in London where he could be treated. The Philadelphia Assistance Centre arranged for Mrs. Nichols to take an overnight flight and be by her husband's bedside early the next morning.

Darryl’s prognosis was still not good. He was breathing only with the help of a ventilator, his blood pressure remained erratic, and he suffered from a chest infection. International SOS flew the Nichols' three children to London to be with their father.

Darryl underwent two surgeries to insert a device to control brain pressure and to remove a brain ventricle malformation. Another CAT scan showed improvement but Darryl was only partially conscious—he was still not able to comprehend or answer questions.

Two weeks later, Darryl required another surgery after which he regained consciousness. For the first time since his stroke nearly a month before, he began focusing on people in the room, looking at whomever was speaking. Steady progress soon followed. Darryl began breathing on his own and could move his right arm. International SOS repatriated him via air ambulance to a top hospital near his home in Toronto.  He made a full recovery.


In a life or death situation, International SOS membership provided access to superior health providers and logistic services that saved Darryl’s life. With his family at his side, Darryl was able to fully recuperate from a severe medical crisis.