Messina’s Story


Less than a week after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in Maine, Sal and Sunday Messina’s teen-aged son was complaining of increasing and constant pain. Sunday Messina had grown quite concerned and knew her son needed urgent attention. After emergency surgery, doctors at the hospital in Maine said they couldn’t take care of her son and that he needed a higher level of care. The 16-year-old needed air ambulance transport. Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance stepped in and provided unparalleled patient care not only during the medical flight, but for years after.

Hospitalized in Maine, the son had a serious infection that doctors there were unable to get under control, his white blood count was soaring and they recommended the patient be transferred to a tertiary treating medical facility. The boy could not be admitted to closer hospitals in Boston, New York and New Jersey. The closest facility that could handle the patient’s needs was in Tampa, Fla. ”A surgeon said to us, ‘You need to get your son out of this hospital because we can’t save him here.’ It was a smaller hospital and that’s when we knew we were in a desperate situation,” says Sunday Messina.

How did the Messina’s decide upon Angel MedFlight? “It was kind of a miracle that was meant to happen, ” says Sunday. “We knew we had to transport our son immediately. I went online, there was a list of different medical flight companies and the name of your company kind of spoke to me and that was it.”

Sal Messina says Angel MedFlight “turned out to be a guardian angel.” Angel MedFlight gave the Messina family, “just a complete feeling of confidence and comfort.” Sunday says when Angel MedFlight’s medical flight crew arrived at the hospital in Maine she knew her son was getting the best care. “If someone is going to save his life, this is the time. They loaded him up, they put him on that plane and I think from that moment on, I knew in my heart that it was going to be okay.”

Angel MedFlight’s team of critical care flight nurses and paramedics transported the young man to a hospital in Tampa that was able to give him the higher level of care he needed. But Angel MedFlight’s patient care does not end once we leave the receiving facility. Sal and Sunday’s son was on the road to recovery but the family’s insurance company claimed his air ambulance flight to Tampa was not medically necessary and withheld benefits to pay for the flight.

That’s when Angel MedFlight’s experts in claims and insurance law took over, writing not one but two appeals to the insurance company. Both were denied. But Angel MedFlight is committed to advocating for the patient and wanted nothing more than to return the Messina’s retainer check to them.

Angel MedFlight has a highly skilled legal department which is specially trained in cases involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), a federal law that governs most health insurance policies. Our legal team went to bat for the Messinas and in January 2013, a Federal District Court judge ruled the insurance company would have to pay the full amount of the air ambulance services rendered by Angel MedFlight.

Winning patient care on two levels. A lifesaving medical flight for the Messina’s son and a claims and legal team that advocated for the family and secured insurance benefits, benefits the insurance company deemed were not medically necessary. “When you’re in a life or death situation, the last thing you want to be dealing with is insurance companies and making important decisions. Angel MedFlight knew exactly what needed to be done and we were just along for the ride and full of confidence the whole time.”

Today Sunday Messina says her son is just a regular guy, becoming a man and we’re super grateful. His father Sal says he doesn’t wish this type of medical emergency on anyone. “But if it does, thank God for Angel MedFlight.”