Barbara Leutwiler slipped and shattered her kneecap while traveling in a remote area of Brazil. Two days before she left for the South American vacation, Leutwiler purchased an Air Ambulance Card membership. Within hours of her accident, the company was finalizing arrangements to dispatch an air ambulance to Brazil to bring Leutwiler and her husband home to Colorado for surgery.
“We were in a third-world country. You do not want to have that kind of surgery in those conditions, especially when you don´t speak the language,” said Leutwiler. “You need to be close to home, close to your doctors, not only for surgery, but for the recovery.”
Leutwiler was in Anapolis, two hours outside Brazil´s capital, Brasilia. The day before her 59th birthday, she was on her way to breakfast when she slipped on a wet tile floor and broke her kneecap. “They didn´t even have ice to keep the swelling down,” said Leutwiler. Adding to the severity of the situation, Leutwiler had suffered a heart attack three years earlier. Because of the language barrier, she was having trouble communicating with doctors about the danger if given the wrong medicine. Hospital staffers also did not know how to dial out of the country. Leutwiler´s husband had an international operator connect him with Air Ambulance Card who handled everything. Within six hours, they had obtained the necessary visas, clearances and permits in order to dispatch the jet and medical team.
Leutwiler has recovered and is once again traveling overseas. Of course her Air Ambulance Card will be the first thing she packs. “I am forever grateful that there is a service like this out there,” said Leutwiler. “If I didn´t have it, I would still be there recovering.”
Barbara Leutwiler Boulder, CO December 12, 2014