When preparing for a trip, it’s not our first instinct to consider that a medical emergency may arise. But spending some moments ahead of a trip preparing a medical records kit and overarching plan may help your travel companions, loved ones at home and medical providers better care for you in the event of emergency.
In this post we outline what resources we used during an unexpected medical emergency, one that required surgery abroad.
Keep a copy of this information in your folder of important documents, and stored offline on your mobile device. Be mindful of best data security practices that come along with storing confidential medical information.
A digital copy of these documents makes it easy to email documents to hospitals, insurers, or other kinds of medical provider.
- Immunization record.
- Medications and prescriptions you are actively taking — including names, dosage, times you take them and the doctor associated with the prescription. Include glasses and contact lens prescriptions.
- List of doctors, including names and phone numbers.
- Health insurance record.
- Travel insurance record.
- List of preexisting conditions or other medical issues.
- Blood type.
- List of allergies.
- Organ donation card.
- Photocopy of passport (identification).
Keep medications and supplies in a centralized, known location.
Tell your travel companion where these supplies are so they can grab-and-go if needed.
- Store and keep supplies together in a ziplock baggie.
- Wear a medical bracelet if you require one.
- Keep a set of easy-to-read instructions for how to use any devices that you may use.
Designate a trusted person at home to help you during an emergency.
Select a trusted person at home that can help you in case of emergency. Though they will not be with you physically, you can lean on this person to help coordinate with doctors, call insurers, notify family and friends etc. If you are traveling with someone else, tell them who this person is and provide their information.
- Determine who will make medical decisions on your behalf in case of emergency.
- Discuss with that person and get their sign off that they are willing to help you.
- Share the above list of medical documents with them.
- Describe your current health to them, including preexisting conditions, and any anticipated medical issues that may arise.
- Tell them how you would like them to help you in the event of an emergency (i.e. call insurers, call doctors, communicate with family, help financially etc.)
Tell your doctors about your travel plans.
Give them an outline of your plans. Let them know that you have provided their names to a trusted person in case of emergency.
Have a sense of whether your government provides recommendations around where to receive medical assistance while abroad.
The U.S. Department of State has a section on their U.S. Embassy for Chile website surrounding medical assistance, with an attached PDF document of a list of doctors who may be able to help.
This listing of Health Care Providers and Medical Facilities is provided as a starting point for American citizens in Santiago. Although the Embassy cannot vouch for or recommend any specific provider or facility, these facilities have a history of use by US Embassy personnel and their families in the past. The names of providers which appear below have demonstrated qualifications similar to those found in the U.S. and generally speak English.
Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists.
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