Air and road ambulance FAQ: can you repatriate a patient if they're taking medication?

Air and road ambulance FAQ

It goes without saying that whenever we get sick, we often end up taking some kind of medicine. Antibiotics. Anticoagulants. Painkillers, sedatives, intravenous (IV) fluids. Taking the right course of medication is often the difference between struggling on and making a swift recovery.

If you’re trying to get someone back home from a hospital abroad, however, that prompts an important question:

Can our patient leave the hospital to be repatriated if they’re still on the medication?

The short is: yes, they can.

Now for the slightly longer answer…

What medication is your patient taking?

When you call our repatriation specialists, one of the first things they’ll do is establish some quick facts about your patient’s condition. Firstly: where are they right now, and what are they being treated for? Secondly: if they’re receiving care in a clinic or hospital, what interventions or surgery have they undergone, and which medicine/s have they been given? We’ll need as much detail as possible – particularly if they’ve started a course of ongoing medication, with all the necessary timings and doses. If you don’t know the answer to these questions, however: don’t worry! Read on to our next point.

(For more on what happens when you make an enquiry to EMS Air Ambulance & Medical Repatriation, check out this blog article: “I’m about to contact you: what details will EMS need from me?”)

Who’s looking after your patient?

The next thing we can do is establish contact with your patient’s local medical team. EMS has a Doctor-on-Call for every repatriation. This is an experienced doctor who is available 24/7, by phone, anywhere in the world. Our travelling doctors and paramedics can contact them for advanced medical advice during the transport itself, but they’re also able to help with preparations. Once we’ve contacted the local hospital team, either our Doctor-on-Call or our team on the ground can discuss your patient’s treatments, medical notes and medicines with them in detail, and make sure we’re gathering the right information.

Next step: prepare the medication for transport

Because EMS can provide road ambulances and air ambulances right up to critical-care level – with an intensive care unit (ICU) for onboard treatment – we can handle almost any medical situation or emergency during travel. Doctors in some parts of the world aren’t always aware of this, so they sometimes tell the patient’s family they must wait until their medication is finished. In most cases, however, EMS can continue that medication so it doesn’t hold up the repatriation. We simply need to know what they’re taking, when they need to take it, and the dosage. We carry many types of medication with us already, but if we don’t have the specific medicine to hand then we can usually arrange to purchase it from your local hospital. In most cases, this cost will be covered as part of your transport package.

What if your patient needs kidney dialysis?

This usually isn’t a problem either. Our team can schedule the transport so it falls between dialysis sessions. For example, we can arrange to collect your patient right after they’ve had the procedure in their local hospital, deliver them on to their home-country hospital, and make sure the doctors are ready to start the next dialysis session when they get there. If you’re facing this kind of situation, just call our repatriation experts and ask for their advice: they can explain how it works in detail.

Contact us

Are you thinking about getting a loved one home but aren’t sure how it would work with their current treatment? Drop us a line. We’ll be really happy to discuss the possible options. Our experienced repatriation specialists are available on the phone day and night. If you’d like find out more about transport pricing, try our easy-to-use cost calculator.

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