What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Medevac’? Chances are you’ll picture a scene from a movie: a soldier shouting down a radio, requesting immediate evacuation for his injured men. Perhaps you imagine a helicopter landing on the battlefield and lifting the wounded to safety.
The term ‘Medevac’ (or medivac) can refer to more than just military evacuation however. In fact, every patient transport by helicopter or aircraft could be called a ‘Medevac’. In situations where critically ill or injured patients urgently have to be transported to hospital, or where roads are bad or not passable, a medevac is sometimes the only solution to get them to safety.
A medevac also does not have to involve large-scale operations, or occur in an emergency situation. It could even be a means of transferring a patient from one hospital to another, where better or specialized care is available.
In fact, everyone can find themselves in a situation where they need a medevac: a cardiac arrest or stroke in a remote area, or an accident when skiing in the mountains. In most countries, the local Medical Health Services are able to carry out a medevac, as well as offer initial treatment in a local hospital. But in most cases, people who find themselves in these situations want to return to their own country as quickly as possible, where they can recover in the familiar environment, surrounded by family and – in some cases – with better care. In that case we’re talking about Medical Repatriation.
Medical Repatriation refers to the transportation of patients back to their home country. In a recent case, Peter (not his real name) from Germany suffered a stroke while he was holidaying in the south of France. He was immediately flown to the local hospital via Medevac. The local doctors stabilised him, but thought he needed surgery as well. He could have the surgery in France or back home. Peter opted for a Medical Repatriation and engaged EMS to take him back to Germany by road ambulance for further treatment. He arrived safely and was able to recover in his own country.
Sometimes it is medically necessary to repatriate a patient. When the standards of hygiene or the levels of care are dangerously low in a foreign hospital, repatriation can make the difference between life and death. But a repatriation can also be the right decision in non-urgent situations. Being hospitalised is stressful at the best of times, but if you’re having to face culture shock, language barriers and the challenges of navigating an unfamiliar health system as well, it can be overwhelming. That’s why many people in urgent and non-urgent cases consider repatriation. EMS offer international patient transport by long distance road ambulance and by private air ambulance, as well as medical escort.
Get in touch
If you find yourself in a medical emergency abroad and would like to return home, don’t hesitate to contact us! Give us a call or use the chat function on the site for any questions or even if you just want to chat through your situation and explore options. Alternatively fill out the form for a free quote. We will get back to you as soon as possible.