Mr. Smith, 45, an American expatriate based in Germany used to go to Italy for regular regional meetings. At the airport in Milano, he takes a taxi which has to drive him to the local office of the company. On the way, the taxi driver narrowly avoids a car while he is talking on the phone. The car rolls over and Mr. Smith is injured. The rescuers find him unconscious. He is transferred to the closest hospital and placed in the emergency room. Obviously, the doctors require a clinical and paraclinical evaluation as well as his medical history. But how to get medical records when the patient is a foreigner, when he does not speak the language and worst, when he is unconscious?
An essential need for doctors.
Time is scarce in this kind of case which happen every day all around the world. The importance of getting quick access to the updated medical history for medical doctors is double:
1. Get evidence regarding the foreign patient’s condition by cross checking the information provided. Reducing medical errors can reduce the risk of medical complications or worse, a fatal outcome.
2. Save time in making decisions and avoid further medical complications.
A responsible behavior for expats.
As an expat, you are facing the risk of being in Mr. Smith’s situation. It may not be a trauma due to an accident, but a sudden health problem such as peritonitis, a non-traumatic loss of consciousness resulting from a poisoning due to medication taking or inhalation of gases, neurological accidents such as a stroke, or because of a heart attack.
As you have primary responsibility for your health, you can easily be prepared to assist medical doctors and improve your safety and that of your loved ones in case a health problem happens overseas:
1. Get a digitized copy of your health record (including reports and images) from health facilities where you had treatments or tests.
2. Check if you have had any anesthesia accident or if you have allergies
3. Get your blood group card and check your vaccines and boosters
4. Ask your home family physician if you have some doubts about any collected data
5. Check with your employer’s benefit service if there are available solutions to electronically store your medical information which allows an international access to you and to your doctors.
If you need more information on secure solutions to store, update and access your health condition and medical history, please visit www.swissmedbank.com/