I am writing to formally lodge a complaint regarding the medical treatment that my family and I received during our recent cruise aboard the Princess Cruises. The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the alarming sequence of events that transpired when our son, fell seriously ill during our voyage, and the subsequent mishandling of his medical care that ensued.
On the 1st of August, our son, became severely ill while onboard the Sky Princess. We promptly sought medical assistance from the medics onboard, who expressed concern that he might be suffering from a life-threatening perforated bowel. However, instead of a transparent discussion about the available medical options, we were unilaterally transferred to a private hospital without our consent or proper consultation.
At the private hospital (Hospital Dr Lopez Cano, Cadiz), our son underwent medical examinations including a CT scan and an X-ray. Throughout this period, we were left largely uninformed about his condition and the course of treatment being pursued. It was only on the late hours of August 2nd that we were informed that Casey was diagnosed with a twisted bowel and required immediate surgical intervention. It is crucial to highlight that during this revelation, the absence of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the private hospital became a glaring issue, particularly given the gravity of our son’s condition and the potential need for ICU support.
This glaring lack of an ICU facility at a medical center that Princess Cruises had an existing contract with raises several alarming questions. Why did the cruise line not ensure that the contracted facility possessed the necessary medical infrastructure to handle life-threatening conditions like a perforated or twisted bowel? This omission exposed our son to unnecessary risks and complications that could have been averted with proper pre-planning and communication.
Furthermore, our insurance company added another layer of complications. Upon informing them of our son’s condition and the medical treatment being administered, we were disheartened to learn that our insurance coverage was contingent on prior authorization for private medical treatment. This lack of pre-approval placed us in a dire situation, where our child's life hung in the balance. We were faced with the choice of either paying exorbitant amounts for the necessary treatment or risking our son's life due to bureaucratic insurance procedures.
The subsequent communication with the translator at the hospital added to our distress. Despite being informed that there wasn’t enough time to transfer our son to a public hospital and redo the necessary medical tests, we were faced with an estimated cost of up to 40,000 euros for the treatment. Given the urgency of the situation, we made the painful decision to proceed with the treatment at the private hospital, even agreeing to sign a document confirming our willingness to pay if our insurance coverage fell through.
Our insurance company's prolonged delay in confirming payment exacerbated the situation. It took until the morning of August 16th for them to approve the payment, during which time the private hospital refused to release us until payment was received. This forced detention was only resolved after our insurance company issued an 'Unlawfully detained' notice and we sought assistance from the British Embassy.
In retrospect, this harrowing experience could have been entirely averted had Princess Cruises taken a few minutes to discuss available medical facilities and options with us. We believe that if they had considered our input and concerns, they would have been guided to choose a medical center with the necessary ICU facilities for Casey's potential conditions. The fact that Hospital Dr Lopez Cano lacked the essential ICU facilities required for cases like our son’s reflects a deeply concerning oversight.
In light of these grievous shortcomings and the traumatic experience our family endured, we urge Princess Cruises to:
1. Acknowledge the gravity of the situation and the inadequate medical care provided to our son.
2. Reimburse us for the medical expenses incurred due to the lack of ICU facilities and the subsequent ordeal.
3. Review and improve your protocols for handling medical emergencies, ensuring that contracted medical facilities meet essential requirements.
4. Enhance communication with passengers and provide them with clear information about medical facilities and available options in case of emergencies.
5. Compensate us for the emotional distress, mental anguish, and inconvenience we experienced during this harrowing period.
We trust that Princess Cruises will treat this matter with the urgency and seriousness it warrants, and that appropriate action will be taken to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.
We eagerly await your prompt response and resolution of this matter. Failure to address our concerns adequately may compel us to explore legal avenues to seek redress for the distress caused to our family.
Desired outcome: See above - Protocols reviewed, better communication with passengers and compensation.
We received an email informing us that our complaint has been handed to their legal team and they will be in touch shortly.
Would never travel with them again, they have even called our family who had stayed behind liars (7 of them). They stated that our family requested help with forwarding our luggage to us in Cadiz when they asked how they could send a package to us in Cadiz as our son had no medication with him and he needed it urgently.
They are just out for themselves and will never accept any responsibility.
We were offered £600 in settlement of our complaint which we refused after discovering further details have come to light with phone call recordings.
The complaint has now gone to ABTA and ASTA.