Holiday Health

Medical assistance when facing medical emergency during travel

Business opportunities have taken executives to all corners of the world. At the same time, more holiday makers are venturing into exotic and remote locations. With this increase in travel, travelers should spare a thought for emergency medical assistance in areas that may not offer the necessary medical services or care at the level to which they are accustomed.

Medical Emergency TravelWhile the traveler can take precautions in the form of a first-aid kit, the accessibility of expert medical care is crucial in an emergency. So, who do you contact for a medical problem or even worse a medical emergency? There are several options:

Hotel doctors

Usually most international or modern hotels have a list of doctors for consultation. Many of these doctors will visit you in your room.

Embassy referrals

Many embassies have referral lists of English-speaking (or other language) doctors. Some embassies (such as the United States and Canada) actually have their own doctors who look after the medical needs of the embassy staff. Although these doctors may be limited to treating only the embassy staff, they can be very helpful in arranging for consultations with local doctors. When calling an embassy for a doctor referral, ask to speak to either the embassy’s doctor, nurse or the consular section.

Travel information organizations

Before starting your trip, you may obtain an international list of English-speaking doctors from a travel information organization such as IAMAT or International Association for Medical Assistance. It is important to realize that such organizations only provide lists of doctors and may not be able to refer you to an appropriate specialist.

International medical assistance

For many travelers, an easy solution to their medical needs is to obtain travel insurance or have an agreement with a medical assistance company prior to their trip. Check with your medical insurance company prior to their trip. Check with your medical insurance company to see if emergency medical assistance is included with your policy. If not, you can buy medical assistance to complement your medical insurance. Medical insurance alone may reimburse your medical expenses, but will not help you to find proper medical attention during an emergency. However, medical assistance companies provide on-the-spot solutions to medically related problems. Such services include advice on how to treat minor injuries, arranging for hospital admissions, liaison between treating doctor and patient’s family or company, and emergency medical evacuation if necessary. Some assistance companies have centers strategically located throughout the world so that the subscriber can easily access their services.

Dr Lyndon Laminack, an American physician who is a senior coordinator doctor of AEA International, the largest medical-assistance company in the Asia-pacific area, describes AEA services: “We keep a medical doctor available by phone at all times and the kinds of problems we face vary tremendously. A traveler in Pakistan may require advice for treatment of minor illness, the wife of a corporate executive in Vietnam may need explanation of malaria prophylactics, or we might be needed to coordinate the evacuation from Bali of an American tourist suffering from head injuries as a result of a car accident.” Each year thousands of cases worldwide are handled by assistance companies like AEA. What assistance services have managed to do is provide the traveler with peace of mind. After all, help is only a phone call away.

One Comment

  • Katrina B Cabana

    I have used expedia for quite a few flight bookings over the past six months. Been using it for hotel bookings too. Seems to have a wider choice of hotels in most locations and in different price ranges and can get good prices if you are using Expedia voucher codes wich you can find all over the internet.