Freestone County family recovering physically and financially from crash ashore in Mexico
WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Summer is peak season for cruises, but a Freestone County family ended up in the ER in Mexico during their Carnival summer cruise, which was just the start of their nightmare.
The Daniels family spent more than $50,000 in cash to pay for medical treatment at a Cozumel hospital and a private flight to the United States required by the Mexican government.
It all started when Michael and Navlet Daniels had a scooter accident during one of the shore excursions on a Carnival cruise.
Michael said the scooter was worn and in poor condition, which caused him and his wife to have an accident.
However, Carnival states that it is not responsible for the safety of passengers when departing the ship, including excursions.
“Passengers engage in all such off-ship activities at their own risk,” according to Carnival’s additional terms and conditions for shore excursions on their website.
The Daniels were taken to the emergency room in Cozumel, and their son, Michael Daniels Jr., and daughter, Fruncheska Jenkins, eventually showed up as soon as they could.
Jenkins said he noticed his father’s arm was injured and his mother was lying on her back, fainting and losing consciousness, receiving no care or medical attention from doctors. As a nurse herself, Jenkins took matters into her own hands and called for screening and testing.
However, doctors demanded thousands of dollars in cash before proceeding with screening and testing.
When she thought it was unusual, Michael Jr. got the money and gave it to the doctors.
They said a doctor manipulated Michael’s injured arm without painkillers.
But, soon, they were told that they had to have a passport to stay with their parents. Jenkins did not have a passport with her on the trip, and Michael Jr.’s passports were on the ship. The ship had already been waiting for them for about 30 minutes when Jenkins and Michael Jr. had to make a quick decision.
“He [a Carnival emergency manager] was like, “I’m responsible for 8,000 other people paying money, so we’re not waiting for you to get your documents back for your family,” Michael Jr. said, an emergency department official told him. Carnival cruise. “I was shocked.”
Michael Jr. was able to get his documents so he could stay with his family, but Jenkins said she had to leave her parents behind.
After being forced to leave her injured parents in a foreign country, she said returning to the ship only made things worse.
“Anyone who has a view of the balcony from their room can see me coming down the long pier to get to the boat,” Jenkins said. “I hear people shouting at me, ‘Hurry up! Run faster! You’re only 40 minutes late! At that time I was very in tears because I just left my family, I don’t even really know what’s going to happen from there.
She said the Carnival crew closed the door immediately after she boarded and returned to work. She said some employees walked her to her room and told her to let them know if she needed anything.
Meanwhile, Michael Jr. was with his parents. He said the doctors at the hospital wanted to operate on Navlet, but he wanted to take them back to America so the doctors there could perform the operation.
“Once the boat left, the director of the hospital said to me, ‘Well, the only way to come back now is to get some money, and maybe they’ll take you back, you’re going to have to talk to the government.” said Michael Jr.
He thought that meant a plane ticket, but he said the manager told him he would have to pay the Mexican government to rent one of their private planes because of Michael and Navlet’s terms.
The hospital director, who had a friend in government, told Michael Jr. the flight would cost $34,000.
“At this point, I’m desperate,” he said.
Michael Jr. dropped the price to $28,000 and had to pay it in cash. In order for the hospital to release his parents, he had to pay an additional $11,000 to the hospital after paying several thousand dollars for other procedures and care.
But, Michael Jr. was still unclear. He said he had to pay an extra $600 because they had temporary passports. He also had to pay other documents and stamps for money.
“I felt like it was all about, ‘Let’s just see how much money we can get out of this family before we bring them back,'” he said.
Once he and his parents finally made it to the plane after more hurdles, they had to sit in the heat inside the plane for nearly an hour until the government gives permission to the pilot, but the government told him that his documents were incorrect.
“Look, I’m out of money,” said Michael Jr. “We’re just gonna have to sit on this plan until they stamp all the paperwork they need to fix.”
After 30 minutes of waiting, the plane took off. There was no air conditioning and it was over 100 degrees.
“I look at the pilot, and he was just sweaty on his arms,” he said. “I look at my mom, and she’s hot.”
His oxygen level was dropping, but Michael Jr. said doctors acted like they didn’t know what to do.
“I asked them, ‘How long have you been a doctor?’ said Michel. “He said he learned from practical experience. He was not educated. »
There were no educated doctors on the flight, but eventually the Daniels finally made it to America.
Michael Jr. said when they got to the hospital the injuries were worse than they thought.
Now the Daniels are at Jenkins recovering, but they don’t know how they will recover financially.
The Daniels have recommendations for anyone planning to take an international cruise.
Michael recommended checking any gear you use on trips to foreign countries as he said sometimes it’s not the best quality.
Navlet recommends always traveling abroad with your passport and important documents that you would need in case of an emergency.
Jenkins hopes to share her family’s experience because, although it’s rare, she never imagined it would happen during her family cruise vacation.
“You don’t expect to have a serious accident or anything like that when you go on vacation, but, in case it does, you’re in that other country,” Jenkins said. “I mean, you’re stuck in an emergency and getting the kind of care they got, honestly, it sucks to see something so inhumane.”
Jenkins started a gofundme for her parents and brother to help them recover financially.
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