EMS Ambulance 25 Oct 2019

Being in hospital abroad is always distressing, but never more so than when the patient is a child. When hospital conditions are substandard and even local doctors are advising to take the child home as soon as possible, repatriation becomes imperative. But what if your insurer refuses to cover the international air ambulance? How can you get home?

How it works

There are many medical repatriation companies who provide international patient transport services – often by road (in a long distance road ambulance) or by air (in a dedicated air ambulance or on a commercial flight with a medical escort). Many of them operate exclusively in conjunction with insurance companies and will only act if the insurance company commissions them.

The insurance company is the one who assesses your case to evaluate if the repatriation is medically necessary. If they find that it is not, they might suggest moving the patient to another local hospital if specialist care is required and covering the costs while the patient remains abroad.

For many parents with a sick child, this is not an acceptable option.


“Our two year old son was in critical condition in the hospital in Al Hoceima (Morocco). He had suffered cardiac arrest after severe issues with his lungs and was resuscitated in hospital. Sadly the conditions in the hospital were harrowing – be it levels of hygiene, medical equipment or general management. It was terrible. Our son wasn’t improving at all and even the [local] doctor recommended flying him back to [home] to Belgium as soon as possible, [although he doubted that] our son would make a recovery or even survive. Our insurance company refused to fly our boy home and only offered to move him to a different hospital in Morocco. This was not an option for us. We felt backed into a corner and at our wits’ end.

EMS is different

EMS Ambulance is not like those repatriation companies and will come out, even if your insurer has refused to arrange the transport. When you get in touch with us, we listen to you so we get a good understanding of your situation. Our medical team then make their own assessment of the patient’s condition and recommend the best way forward. If it is medically safe, we will find a way!

Our office team will take care of all the arrangements required, including all the paperwork. They will assemble the right team with the right specialisms for your situation. The medical team will then come to you, bringing all the equipment and medication needed. They will prepare the patient for the journey and accompany them all the way, taking care of all their needs.

Story continued

“Thank goodness that we found EMS Ambulance! The day after the repatriation was confirmed and the required EU travel documents granted, a plane departed for our boy. We were overjoyed when we saw the doctor and his assistant enter our son’s room. The first thing they did was replace my son’s tube with a different sized one [so he was better able to breathe]. They had brought all my little boy needed and had thought of everything. He had to be on a ventilator and constantly needed medication. After a ride to the airport, the [doctors] settled my son into the private ambulance [and] I was able to close my eyes for a few hours after four days from hell, knowing that he was finally in good hands.

EMS Ambulance’s bed-to-bed service

At EMS we always aim to offer bed-to-bed service. We will arrange transfers to and from the airports and liaise with the hospital in your home country to guarantee a bed will be waiting upon arrival. We stay to settle the patient into their new environment, take care of all the paperwork and do not leave unless we are persuaded a successful handover has taken place.

Story Ending

Three hours later we arrived at the University Hospital of Leuven. [Our boy recovered and] we were discharged after barely a week! We thank God that our son is still with us. Anyone wondering whether they should or shouldn’t engage EMS Ambulance, don’t hesitate – [a child’s] life and health are worth everything.”


If you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us – even if it’s just to talk through your situation and explore options. We are here to help.