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Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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Global Rescue

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Travelers around the globe encounter environmental, political, personal, and medical situations in which they require rapid assistance, up to and including evacuation to their country of origin. When an evacuation is necessary, it is not the time to begin research on how this might be accomplished. In this regard, most people are poorly prepared. So, it is important to think now about how you would be rescued, transported, and evacuated in an emergency.

Global Rescue LLC advertises to provide expert medical, security, and aeromedical evacuation services. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, the company notes that "nearly half of all international travelers will report a medical problem this year and 1 in 30 will be hospitalized. Thousands will require medical evacuation costing over $100,000 that is not covered by health or travel insurance."

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Americans are traveling to foreign (to the U.S.) countries, such as India and Thailand, to obtain medical care (in particular, surgical services) at a cost lower than that charged in the U.S. So, if the medical care in other countries is sufficiently high quality to convince Americans to travel abroad for care, why is it so important to have a method for evacuation back to the U.S.?

There are many reasons to plan ahead for medical advice, evaluation, assistance, and evacuation. Furthermore, in this time of security risks up to and including armed conflict, kidnapping, and terrorism, one must be aware of how to get help quickly and reliably, because during or immediately after the event is not the time to begin planning. Global Rescue is one of a group of entities, such as the Divers Alert Network, that have offerings (advice, insurance, etc.) designed to assist the traveler in need (usually medical).

Global Rescue, the Official Provider of aeromedical services to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team, advertises that if you are hospitalized or in need of hospitalization more than 160 miles from home, it can launch an aircraft and medical team in as few as 90 minutes to initiate the evacuation. Furthermore, it will initiate and complete search and rescue operations using professionals, some of whom have special forces backgrounds. 24/7 medical consultations are offered in English in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Finally the company has the capacity to provide security advisory services and fee-for-service deployable security teams.

Do the research, and decide for yourself how best to procure insurance and make plans for your journeys. But do not count on being able to easily arrange bonafide medical advice or a smooth evacuation if you have not planned in advance. Global Rescue is a good place to start as you become educated on these matters.

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.

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