Last June, Jay Comfort flew to the United States from his home in Switzerland to attend his only daughter’s wedding. But the week before the ceremony — on a Friday evening — Comfort said he found himself in “excruciating pain.”
“I tried to gut it out for three hours because of the insurance situation,” said Comfort, a retired teacher and American citizen who has Swiss insurance.
When the pain became unbearable, Comfort called his brother, who drove him and his wife, Nazuna, a few miles to the nearest emergency department, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s hospital in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Every bump of the drive was “like someone taking something and just jabbing it into my abdomen,” he said.
At the hospital, Nazuna Konishi Comfort handed over her husband’s Swiss insurance card, which confirmed coverage by Groupe Mutuel. Jay recalls the staff making copies and treating his acute appendicitis. Doctors removed the inflamed organ through emergency surgery.
Diagnostic tests revealed a rare form of cancer. After returning home, doctors in Switzerland performed another surgery to remove it. “It was a miracle,” Comfort said, adding…