InHealth, Travel

4 Steps for Responding to a Medical Emergency Abroad

A trip abroad is always exciting, but things can quickly turn in the event of an injury. Though many people travel with no problems, it’s always worth being prepared and planning ahead. Follow these steps in the event of a medical emergency while you’re traveling internationally.

medical emergency

Image via Flickr by Fergie10

Stabilize the Injured Person and Apply First Aid

First, take a breath and do your best not to panic. Immediately following an emergency, you should first ensure that everyone is safe. For example, don’t attempt to apply first aid following a traffic collision until it’s safe to do so. You can then assess the injured person’s wounds. Here are a few general tips for emergency first aid:

  • Apply direct pressure on any wounds to stop or slow bleeding.
  • Don’t move the injured person, if possible. If the situation isn’t life threatening, moving the person could do them more harm than good.
  • In the event of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, loosen the person’s clothing and go to a cooler area if possible.

Get Medical Help if Needed

If the injury is serious, contact emergency services for help. Your home country’s government should have information about what to do in such an event. Local medical support may also be provided at certain parks or attractions. If you do seek help from local emergency services, know that you may also need to contact your home country’s government for information about how to move forward with your medical emergency.

Go to the Hospital

Visiting a hospital abroad can be overwhelming, but it can’t be avoided in an emergency. Before you leave on your trip, look for local resources to help you respond to such an event. Once you’re completed with this research, you should have:

  • Service numbers to contact in the event of an emergency.
  • The location and contact information of your country’s local embassy, if applicable.
  • The location and contact information of good local hospitals and emergency resources, such as the U.S. Department of State for U.S. citizens traveling abroad.

To receive emergency care, follow the recommended procedures that your travel resources recommend. For example, U.S. travelers are advised to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if they ever need emergency care. Do this or call a local emergency number to arrange transit to a hospital.

Return to Your Home Country

It’s possible to put off all or some care until you can return to your home country. This can be difficult when you’re injured, but if you have support with a membership through MedjetAssist, transportation to a hospital in your country of origin is covered. Medical transport is one of the greatest costs associated with responding to an emergency. Even something that’s not life-threatening, such as breaking a bone, can lead to astronomical expenses if you lack the resources to cover those costs.

Prepping for an emergency and knowing how to respond if someone is injured should always be a part of your travel planning. Follow these tips if you’re injured abroad, and consider a MedjetAssist membership to help in the event that you need to arrange a medical transfer.

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1 Comment

  • Elizabeth

    This is why we haven’t traveled abroad yet- I have a chronic illness that can result in a medical emergency at any time. I wasn’t aware of the MedJetAssist program- I’m going to look into that! Thank you!

    October 31, 2018 at 9:33 am Reply
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