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Franchise Exec Takes Unexpected Medical Detour While On the Road


CKE's Marc Mushkin on an earlier trade mission to the Nordic Countries.

One of the best decisions Marc Mushkin has made in his lengthy career in international franchising is not putting the "Do Not Disturb" sign on his hotel door in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).

As vice president of international franchise sales and development for CKE Restaurants, Mushkin is on the road more days than he’s home. He had just closed a 15-restaurant deal in Bolivia earlier and was on his way to catch up with the franchise trade mission to India  the first week in December, when an earache started to become more than just a nuisance.

Before joining the group in Delhi, Mushkin had a stop in Kolkata to talk to some potential partners there. He met with the officials of the American embassy, had dinner in a nice café and then went to bed.

When he woke up days later, he was on a respirator in an Indian hospital with his wife and daughter at his bedside. He had no memory of being transported to the hospital, nor of his family being summoned to travel halfway around the world to be with him.

Had he placed the "Do Not Disturb" sign on his hotel door, he says, housekeeping may not have found him until the next day. As it was, the maid discovered him passed out in his bed with blood coming out of his ear. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and the embassy was called in to help.

The diagnosis was bacterial meningitis.

Now that he’s home and almost fully recovered, he sees just how lucky he was. He also saw the differences in the two countries' healthcare systems at a time when the U.S. is reevaluating its healthcare coverage.

His 13-day stay at the Kolkata hospital, he says, was $10,200, while his subsequent 10-day stay in Miami was more than $200,000. In Kolkata, part of his care included a daily straight-edge razor shave by a barber, massages and visits by the hospital COO and head nurse to check on his recovery. Although those niceties were missing at the hospital in his hometown of Miami, he says, he received excellent care in both facilities. 

While Mushkin missed the trade mission—the Delhi franchisee filled in for him—he had no worries about his job. “Carl’s was wonderful,” he says about CKE, which is parent company to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

And although he didn’t know it at the time, his other bit of fortuitous planning was checking in with the U.S. Consulate. This is one time U.S. citizens want the government aware of their movements in a foreign country. 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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