Medical Emergencies for Backpackers

A medical emergency abroad is one of the scariest holiday disasters anyone can face. This can be an especially frightening experience for backpackers, who may be travelling alone in remote and isolated locations.

Many people will never need to seek medical treatment abroad, and others may only need outpatient treatment for mild conditions. However, for the few who do need emergency help, the situation can become very frightening very quickly.

One such example was recently featured in the Daily Mail, and serves as an alarming example of how quickly a backpacking adventure can turn into a holiday nightmare.

Ben Street was backpacking around Central America with his girlfriend as part of a Longstay adventure. One day, after exploring a waterfall, Mr Street slipped and fell 20 feet onto the rocks below. He was rushed to a local clinic, given 100 stiches, some painkillers, diagnosed with whiplash ,and sent on his way two days later.

After travelling to their next destination, Mr Street asked to be examined again, and it was only then that he was diagnosed with a fractured spine and broken neck. Doctors told him that he was lucky to be alive and not paralysed from the damage which had been missed in his first examination. He was quickly flown back to Britain and is now under the care of specialists.

This horrifying example should serve as a reminder of why it is so important to;

1.   Invest in quality travel insurance which offers at least £2,000,000 worth of medical cover, and an medical emergency team. If Mr Street had been able to contact a medical team, they could have spoken to the initial treating doctor, looked at his first X-Rays and perhaps picked up the underlying issues a lot sooner.

2.   Know how to contact the emergency services in whichever country you’re in, and how to get to a state hospital.

3.   Be careful when planning the experiences you want to have and the places you want to visit. Never put yourself into any situations which could potentially affect your health or safety whilst abroad, and definitely not in remote locations.
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