My hospital abroad says I can’t be moved – how can I get home? My hospital abroad says I can’t be moved – how can I get home?

EMS Ambulance 8 Nov 2018


It’s something none of us like to think about: the possibility of illness or an accident while travelling abroad. Needing to go to hospital is hard enough as it is, but it becomes even more distressing when you are in a foreign environment.

Most people, understandably, wish to return to their home country as soon as possible and raise the option of medical repatriation. But sometimes hospitals abroad are reluctant to release them.

There are a number of reasons why hospitals say a patient can’t be moved, but don’t worry: Experience has taught us that repatriation is still nearly always possible.


Will a patient deteriorate?

Doctors might be concerned that a patient will deteriorate during the journey. Generally, this isn’t the case. Modern repatriation involves the use of high-quality ICU equipment, including ventilators, and repatriation services like EMS ensure that medical care continues smoothly during the process. State-of-the-art air and road ambulances can get patients home quickly – sometimes the same day.


Who is liable for the patient’s wellbeing?

Some doctors might be concerned that they will be liable for the patient’s wellbeing after they’ve left the hospital. This concern is unnecessary, because medical repatriation services like EMS will take over responsibility for the patient. This responsibility covers all aspects of the repatriation process, including medical care, safety while travelling, and admission into hospital at the end of the journey.


Is the patient well enough to be moved?

Sometimes, doctors abroad are worried that a patient isn’t well enough to be moved because they are unaware of the level of care provided during a repatriation. In this situation, talk to us. The EMS medical team has successfully repatriated hundreds of people over the years. Our doctors know what is possible and how to get you home safely.


Hospital politics

We sincerely hope that this will never be your experience, but sometimes money and hospital politics can play a role too. In this case, get in touch as soon as possible. We have navigated these difficult situations before and know how to handle them.


How can EMS get me home?

For us at EMS, the patient comes first. That’s why we tailor everything we do to the specific needs of each patient. When you contact us, we will listen to you and discuss your situation with you, and provide advice on the best way to get you home safely.

Our qualified doctors and paramedics will meet the patient in person and provide a medical assessment, determining whether the patient is fit to travel. Our doctors can also provide a medical report and all the documentation needed for repatriation.

Then, we bring the patient home – via road or air ambulance, or through a medical escort on a commercial flight. This depends on the patient’s condition and care requirements. Our medical practitioners will travel with the patient and continue their care on the journey. We provide all medicines, food and other requirements. We also maintain communication with relatives.

Because we offer a bed-to-bed service, we will take the patient directly to their destination hospital, arrange admission and liaise with the doctors there.

If you find yourself in a difficult hospital situation abroad, get in touch and tell us your story. We are here to help.