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Broke Family Medically Disembarked In Mexico

Carnival Cruise Line - Carnival Triumph - June 2, 2015

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Carnival Cruise Ship Passengers
Broke Family Medically Disembarked In Mexico

Carnival Cruise Line - Carnival Triumph - June 2, 2015

A cruise ship passenger family from Springfield, Ohio, who had driven to Galveston, Texas to embark on Carnival Triumph Monday, June 1, 2015, for a Caribbean cruise to Mexico was left pleading for help from strangers, when a child in the family needed medical attention while in Mexico.

The family, consisting of single mother Christie Johnson and her three children, drove cross-country to take the Caribbean cruise, with extended family members, when one child, Peyton Johnson, 12, became ill while on the cruise and was taken to the cruise ship medical center.

At the cruise ship medical center, Peyton Johnson was diagnosed with a medical condition, requiring surgery. As per standard medical practices, to protect the health of the child, the family was told they would be disembarked for medical treatment in Progreso, Mexico. Two of the children stayed with other family members aboard Carnival Triumph, and continued back to Ohio with those family members.

What happened next is a text book example of why people should never cruise without travel insurance. According to Texas television station KTRK, "She had $21 on her," said Steve Johnson, Peyton's great uncle who lives outside Alvin."

This mother and three children were on a cruise with $21 in their pockets, on a cruise ship sailing in Mexico waters, without passports. As is typical in Mexico medical offices and hospitals, foreigners are not given treatment, certainly not surgery, without payment in advance of services rendered.

Johnson had to rely on family members to donate $3000 cash up front needed at the hospital, before the surgery would be done. The money struggle didn't end there. Johnson needed money for expenses in Progreso and then money for the flight for her and Payton to fly to Houston, Texas for further treatment.

So, on June 2, 2015, Kenneth Taynor, started a Go Fund Me "Peyton Johnson Cruise Medical Emergency Return Home", a plea for donations, pleading for $25,000 to help the mother and one child with expenses. As of June 6, the donations by 318 people had reached $16,860. The original plea for help on the Go Fund Me page states:
"Christie and her son Peyton need help. Christie and her children were on a Carnival cruise when Peyton became ill. He was diagnosed with appendicitis from the ships doctor. They were then dropped off at the port and left to fend for their own well-being. She has received money for the surgery ($3000 up front) and is awaiting Peyton's release. They still need to taxi to the U.S. embassy to obtain emergency passports and secure their luggage. The ship has left them and they are stranded in Progresso, Mexico. They need help with hotels, travel expenses, food, passports and maybe even air fare. Anything that anyone can do to help would be greatly appreciated."

An update on the Go Fund Me page stated:

"We are hoping to continue his care in Houston, and then return him to home to Ohio, to be reunited with his siblings, as soon as he is able. Again, thank you all for your support, your thoughts, your prayers. And God bless."

A quick scroll through the 318 donations list showed the minimum given had been $5, many had given $50 or more, several had given $100 and there were several donations for $200, with others for $250, $300 and $380.

All of this would have never been required had the family simply purchased travel insurance and had ordered and received passports before they booked the cruise. While passports are not required for cruises to Mexico, it is common knowledge, that if any ship-wide or personal event, act of terrorism or act of God results in disembarking in Mexico, a passport will be required.

This is why, as we have stated many times before, Cruise Ship Travel Insurance should be mandatory. Passengers should take personal responsibility and plan for potential travel issues, before they cruise, especially when children or the elderly are involved.

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