Local Man Evacuated from Cruise to Mexican Hospital for Emergency Surgery


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Boarding a Carnival cruise in New Orleans Saturday, the only thing on Chase Kehler’s mind…

“A nice relaxing, normal Mexican vacation,” he said. 

But a day and half in, Chase’s boat got rocked. 

“I woke up in the middle of the night with those sharp pains,” Chase said. 

The ship doctor said he had acute appendicitis that would require surgery. 

A picture of Chase on the cruise with his sister and his mom Janie was taken just hours before the Mexican Coast Guard evacuated Chase from their cruise ship for emergency care at a private for-profit hospital in Cancun. 

It cost 6,000 dollars to be admitted and 25,000 dollars cash for surgery. 

“When we didn’t have the $25,000 so they stopped all of Chase’s treatment. They unhooked his IV, they gave him no more medicine,” Janie Kehler, Chase’s mother said. 

They were kicked out and sent to the general, public hospital.

 “It was the scariest, most horrific scene out of a horror movie,” Janie said. 

They described chaos, armed guards and open wounds. It was also the place they found hope. 

“I asked just a random paramedic in the hallway and asked for help,” Janie said. 

“I personally believe it was kind of a miracle, a God-send when we were able to get in touch with the paramedics,” Chase said. 

The paramedic put them in his ambulance and rushed them to another private hospital for free, where, in an hour, Chase was undergoing surgery. 

“As you can see he’s doing really well! ” Janie showed us over Facetime Wednesday. 

Chase grateful to be recovering, and working to regain his strength to now get home to Arkansas. 

“A big thanks to everybody for prayers and support,” Chase said. 

Janie says she’s learned two things from this experience: 

1) If the cruise line does not require a passport., bring one anyway.
The family has received help from Congressman French Hill’s office to get an emergency passport so they can get home. 

2) Buy travel insurance. 

She is a nurse herself, and is hoping her insurance company will reimburse her at the out-of-network rate which she says is 50 percent. 
It’s not guaranteed. 

Chase and Janie are expected home this weekend. Chase has to fly First Class so he can lay back as he recovers. 

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