The Hornburg family and Kings Own Calgary Regiment (KOCR) has requested the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre’s assistance with emergency funding. We are hoping to raise $40,000 for Michael Hornburg and the family.The Calgary MFRC will accept contributions to help the Hornburg family, and any excess will be used to replenish our Benevolent Fund which is designed to help with military family’s urgent needs. Due to the specific recipient identified for this request, donations are not eligible for tax receipting. Please use the button to the right of this article to contribute or follow this link. Thank you for your support!
Michael Hornburg experienced a medical emergency, on his walking journey across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago.
Michael was walking in memory of Corporal Nathan Hornburg of the Kings Own Calgary Regiment (KOCR), his beloved son, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on September 24, 2007.
His daughter, Rachel, received a 2:00 am call from a Spanish hospital saying that Michael had a seizure and was diagnosed with a brain tumor; he was stable but confused and unable to speak. Twenty-four hours later Rachel was at his bedside in a Spanish hospital.
One person at the hospital spoke fluent English, Dr. Rosario, the admitting ER doctor. The family spoke twice to the neurosurgeon (through the broken English of another doctor), and were instructed that Michael would need to get back to Canada for immediate brain surgery. But, even though he is now mobile and stable, he would not be released to fly without medical accompaniment.
The travel medical insurance company was contacted within hours of the 2 am call on October 14 to be notified of the claim. All paperwork was provided immediately upon request. Around the clock Rachel expedited medical records, medical history and fulfilled every request the company made. The insurance company had a Spanish speaking doctor, but it took days for the hospital to connect with her.
On day six, the family received the call-- Insurance denied the claim. Insurance offered to facilitate arrangements for a $71,000 air ambulance.
The family began to make other arrangements to get Michael home, ensuring that the planning abided by the laws applicable to an emergency medical transport. The airline, even though provided with the documentation appointing the power of attorney for a medically incapacitated father, refused to discuss Michael’s booking with Rachel.
The conversation with the airline began on October 17, when the airline was notified that Michael would not make his return flight. Eight days later the necessary paperwork for medical clearance on a commercial airline was obtained, through a translated conversation with the Spanish neurologist. All that was needed was a doctor and a nurse to fly home with the patient, the doctor stated, on the airline form.
It took days to book five tickets from Santiago de Compostela to Calgary, a supervisor finally managed to book one ticket for Michael, but not for the two required medical escorts. The family was directed to go online or speak to a ticket agent to book family and medical team tickets.
The medical escort team flew in from Calgary and Rachel worked on discharge papers, so Michael could fly out the morning of October 26th. The medics needed first class seating to best assist their patient. An upgrade cost an additional $4,000 per person, and the airline decided a compassionate upgrade is not warranted in this case. The Calgary MFRC will accept contributions to help the Hornburg family in this time of urgent need.
Michael Hornburg is a retired blue collar worker who has devoted the years following his son's death to fundraising for veterans and families of military. He initiated the Loops for the Troops fundraising run, the event held on Father's Day for six years in row.
The family has incredible support from family and friends and has a volunteer crew working around the clock in Calgary to logistically assist with this emergency. Friends, family, and our military community are pulling out all stops to get Michael home for the care he needs.
“From the bottom of my heart, and I know my father, Michael Hornburg, would echo this statement if he could, thank you to those who have rallied around our family in our time of need.”
- Condensed version of situation from Michael’s daughter, Rachel