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Monday, September 28, 2009

Good Medical Tips When Living Abroad

The reality is no matter how healthy you are, you will end up seeing some type of doctor for something. Now generally speaking this is no big deal but if you happen to live in another country, and if by chance it's a country with another language that's not English then this could very easily become a big deal.
I will give you some easy tips that should make any hospital or doctors visit go smoothly. Although, I can't fix your ailment, I can show you how to organize yourself to make the necessary medical visit, almost pain free. Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.
Anyways, one of the first things you want to do when residing in a new country is find out where the local clinics in your area are. Find out who does what, be it a dentist or a general practitioner. This can be done as easily as taking a leisurely drive in your area and finding the local clinics or medical centers, or simply having coffee and conversation with someone who knows the area.
If at all possible it's best to find a local doctor who may have a small office practice. This is ideal in that these are generally smaller settings and more comfortable for you the potential patient or client. Get familiar with the staff. Stop in and get a business card so you have the practices number. See if anyone there speaks English in case you happen to be living in a place where English is not the first language.
... Introduce yourself to the staff and let them know you are a newly transplanted american and are seeking to secure a personal medical doctor. You would be surprised at how helpful the staff at the clinics and medical centers can be in helping a newly transplanted person.
If at all possible, take a local with you, someone you know and trust and that speaks whatever the local lingo may be. Have them be your representative in introducing you to the staff.
Prior to leaving the states, it is highly advisable to go to a local medical clinic or office and pick up the standard forms that you would fill out for a visit. Take these forms home with you and in the comfort of your home, translate the questions on the form from English into the language of the country you will be living in. Medical forms are pretty standard, so if you can have your answers already prepared in the local language of the country you will be living in, it will make things easier for the staff if by any chance someone does not speak English.
I can recall watching a movie in the 80's called Roadhouse, with Patrick Swayze. In this movie, Swayze's character was a professional bouncer at a local club and being in that kind of business one is bound to have his share of scrapes and injuries. The character Swayze portrayed already had his medical files with him and was able to present the files to the doctor that looked him over and it had his complete medical history which made it very easy for the doctor to treat him as she was aware of his whole medical history. Sure, it was a cheesy 80's movie but it was a good idea and life imitates art, as they say.
So you may wish to get complete copies of your medical files from whoever your doctor or attending medical clinic in the states is, prior to your departure. Again, having this medical file translated into the native language of the country you will be living in could in some cases be a lifesaver. It's not hard to translate the files and most clinics or doctors would just need the basic info; date of birth, full name, blood type, allergies, any recent medical history or surgeries, medications you may be using, and the like. Having a file prepared means that even if you are can't speak for yourself, the file can.
Small USB pocket drives are very common and very inexpensive to obtain. You could, conceivably put your medical files on a small USB storage drive and then put that drive on your keyring or carry it with you, in this way, you are not bogged down with carrying around any actual paper files, but you can have your whole medical history in a folder on this mass storage drive. Most of these USB type of drives are very tiny, I have one that’s smaller than a book of matches and I carry it with me most everywhere. These days just about all computers have a USB port so you don't have to worry about having the files and them not being accessible.
Remember, don't assume because you have had relatively good health up till now that it will always be that way, you must prepare for the unexpected when you live abroad. I learned this the hard way when I had an emergency appendix operation in Chile. It showed me the importance of being able to communicate your medical history.
So the operative lesson is: be prepared for the possibilities. Create an easily accessible medical file. I know of a person who set up a private website that has all their medical history and when they were brought into a hospital after a car accident the staff was able to access his medical history on this website he set up.
He was unconscious from the car accident but this website with his medical history spoke for him and it let the staff know he was allergic to certain medications. What's more is he had the website also in the language of the country he was living in, so this made things very easy for the staff, even though he was unconscious.
Again, you have to remember you live abroad, so things are a bit different and you have to prepare for all possibilities, and as the old expression goes, chance favors a prepared mind, and this is true.
If you don't feel comfortable carrying around your information on a USB drive or placing it on a website, then simply give the information to someone you trust who resides in the country you have chosen to make your home. Put this person down as someone to contact in case of an emergency.
That way if something happens to you, you have someone who can provide the medical staff with your medical history and also, having someone local represent you will ensure you will get good treatment. It's one thing to be a tourist but if the medical staff knows you have local friends who live and reside in the city or town you live in, this will go a long way to making sure you get extra good care. The medical staff will not just see you as some american that got hurt, but they will look at you as having friends where you live so they will want to go out of their way to treat you good cause unlike tourists that leave after their vacation, they will know you are living there on a permanent basis.
I can remember when I was brought in for my appendix surgery, they wanted to know what an american was doing in Chile and how long I was going to be "visiting". Once my friends and those that brought me in informed the staff that I had family locally and that I lived in Chile, things seemed to change instantly. Instead of just being seen as a tourist with a medical condition, I was looked at as being "one of them". This went a long way to me getting good treatment. It seems like a small thing, but trust me it is not and can go a long way to helping get that extra special care you may need.
You never expect to possibly need medical attention when you are abroad or living abroad but it is always best to be prepared for the possibilities. These helpful little tips can go a long way to protecting you medically speaking and making sure you get the kind of good care that you deserve.
Take time to find out where the local clinics are, stop in, introduce yourself and establish yourself, better to make friends when you don't need medical attention so that if a time comes up that you do need medical help, you got staff that know who you are and know best how to help you.


  1. সকল স্বাস্থ্য ও যৌন সমস্যার মেডিকেল সমাধান

    পুরুষের স্বাস্থ্য

    নারীর স্বাস্থ্য

    যৌন সমস্যা

    মেডি তথ্য

    সহবাসের সময় ছেলেদের যে সকল সমস্যা হয় তার মেডিকেল সমাধান

    সহবাস সমস্যা