DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

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Accessing Emergency Assistance

In some remote locations, rescue or evacuation services may be unavailable. All travelers, especially those headed to remote territories, should develop an emergency action plan (EAP) in case their trip goes off course. More than 68 million Americans travel abroad each year, and the U.S. government receives nearly 200,000 emergency assistance requests due to illness, injury or crime. The U.S. Department of State has assisted almost 11,000 families who have had a relative die during a trip.In some remote locations, rescue or evacuation services may be unavailable. All travelers, especially those headed to remote territories, should develop an emergency action plan (EAP) in case their trip goes off course. More than 68 million Americans travel abroad each year, and the U.S. government receives nearly 200,000 emergency assistance requests due to illness, injury or crime. The U.S. Department of State has assisted almost 11,000 families who have had a relative die during a trip.The process of locating travelers in need of assistance, retrieving them and getting them to someone able to provide initial medical care is defined as the rescue phase of assistance.

If you are heading to a remote area, as part of your travel action plan be sure to have with you the contact numbers for a remote rescue service in the region where you'll be traveling. Contact that service first if the need for a rescue arises.

Keep in mind that search-and-rescue operations can be quite expensive, so travelers to remote areas should carry search and rescue expense coverage. Even policies that cover rescues generally limit the amount they will reimburse, and they typically pay only organizations that are trained and approved to undertake search and rescue operations.Medical evacuation is the transportation of an injured or sick person to the closest appropriate medical facility, such as a hospital or clinic, for assessment and emergency medical care.

Travel-assistance organizations optimize the evacuation process by balancing several factors: the type and urgency of the medical need, the available means of transportation and the proximity of facilities that can provide care. The patient will not necessarily be returned to his or her home country at this stage. Transportation methods used may include helicopters, airplanes, boats, ambulances or other motor vehicles.

Keep in mind that in some cases the cost of a medical evacuation -- especially if it includes several stages and/or requires the use of a specialized air ambulance -- can far exceed $100,000. Thus having a plan that covers medical evacuation is essential if you plan to travel to a remote area. Frequently, even if the traveler carries sufficient coverage, an evacuation may be delayed due to factors such as inclement weather or the unavailability of nighttime transport.Medical repatriation is the transportation of an ill or injured traveler to his or her country of origin to receive medical care. Whereas medical evacuation gets you to the closest available medical care, medical repatriation transports you from that facility to another one back home.

If you become injured or ill while traveling and require hospitalization or a higher level of care, you may be returned to your home country if your condition warrants medical travel, if you are stable enough to travel and if the travel does not pose any additional risk to your condition. Your travel emergency-assistance provider will usually make such medical determinations in consultation with you and your treating physicians and then make all the necessary travel arrangements if repatriation is deemed advisable.


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