Tahiti medical evacuation ruled out because of patient's weight

1:46 pm on 7 May 2019

A bed-ridden woman with back problems in French Polynesia has been told she cannot be flown from her home island Rikitea to Tahiti's hospital because of her weight.

Air Tahiti plane

Air Tahiti plane Photo: RNZI/Walter Zweifel

Helene Kapikura fell more than a week ago but the 47-year-old woman was told because she weighed 103 kilos neither Air Tahiti nor Air Archipel would carry out her medical evacuation.

Her plight has been highlighted on social media by a local woman who questions if access to health care is no longer assured for those living more than a thousand kilometres from Tahiti.

She has told local television that this case shows how poorly the health care system works for people in the Gambier islands, as it is not the first such incident.

An Air Tahiti spokesperson said regulations are such that its aircraft can only carry stretchers with less than 100 kilos on them.