Man stranded in Turkey after breaking leg on cruise ship has surgery, blood transfusion

Dodge Melkonian, wife were on Royal Caribbean ship

CLEARWATER, Fla. - "He had a surgery. He's in recovery. We're not sure what's going to happen with the surgery," said Elite Travel's Tammy Levent.

Dodge Melkonian, 89, is finally being treated at an American hospital in Istanbul after falling and breaking his hip on a cruise ship in Turkey.

"Can you please tell me why it's taken four days to respond to me?" said Levent.

Royal Caribbean, the cruise line, left Melkonian and his wife at port to fend for themselves, according to his travel agent.  She says they were transported to a hospital where English was rare and the conditions were suspect.  She says the cruise line's lack of oversight has only made matters more difficult.

"And I said, 'Why wasn't anybody there with them?'  Well, it was a very remote location.  I said, 'I really don't care.'  He had an injury that needed surgery, so you needed to bring a representative with you there with him," explained Levent.

Levent says Melkonian's travel insurance policy was set up by Royal Caribbean, because the cruise was complimentary.  Now their hospital bill is adding up $10,000 a day, and Levent says the insurance won't pay up front.

A Florida attorney says that's breaking the company's agreement.

"Actually, I read the policy over for that particular cruise line, and that's not in accord with the insurance coverage," said Charles Lipcon.

Royal Caribbean released a statement today for the first time that reads: "We worked closely with the travel insurance provider, as they have the expertise to deal with local authorities and medical facilities."

His travel agent says the response is misleading and a little too late.

"They're not looking for charity. They're not looking for anyone to donate or give anything. They just want to be done what's right," she said.

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