Falling ill at your holiday destination.

You hope it never happens but falling ill at your holiday destination is one of the worst things you want to experience ……..why is an interpreter for medical emergencies so incredibly important? 

Real life story:

A German lady was on holiday with her husband on the island of la Palma, one of the smaller islands of the Canary Islands.

She went to the nearby medical centre with severe medical complaints. When she arrived, the next problem presented itself: the language barrier.  Since she was unable to get her symptoms and worries across to the medical personnel, she was sent home. 

Lucas Island Services was then called by the daughter of this German lady. Her mum was not doing well, had no feeling in her legs, a tingling sensation in legs and hands and a lot of pain. If the interpreter could please come over to help.

In the event of a medical emergency, the Lucas Island Services’  interpreter is always on standby and will try to be on site as quickly as possible.  However, in this case this was impossible since Lucas Island Services is located on Tenerife. The interpreter offered to translate everything by video call or phone. 

The next days consisted of visits to different medical centers, two visits to the local hospital and the pharmacy. Unfortunately, not all the Canary Islands have a large hospital and la Palma is one of those.

Every time a conversation needed to take place between doctors, nurses and patient Lucas Island Services was called. The interpreter was able to remove a lot of uncertainty, fear and panic from both patient and her family.

In the end it was decided by the travel insurance to transport their client to Germany as soon as possible. 

How does health care in the Canary Islands work?

Health care in the Canary Islands is good, the doctors are skilled, however, the organisation cannot be compared to medical care in our home countries. Often, especially on the smaller islands, resources are limited to a local medical centre. 

In Spain and the Canary Islands, medical staff is trained in Spanish. Therefore, it is seldom that you would find someone who speaks English or German in a medical center from the Social Security. This is different in private clinics or private hospitals. They might employ interpreters.

A doctor’s diagnosis starts with the first conversation with the patient. It is therefore extremely important to be able to clarify what medicines you are taking and what your symptoms are. Through the initial interview, the doctor will conduct certain tests, and from these, a diagnosis will emerge.

Feedback from the doctor to the patient and his/her family members is equally important. People need to understand what is going to happen, which exams will be done, what treatments are needed and which medicines need to be taken.

An interpreter who specialises in medical translations takes away the anxiety and panic when you are ill in a foreign country whose language you do not speak. She can explain local procedures and facilitate and maintain communication with the patient and family. 

Please don’t save on your health and make sure you always travel with a good travel insurance. Always carry these papers with you as well as your European health card along with a list of the medications you are taking (if any). 

This way, you can travel without worries.

Would you like more information about our assistance should you fall ill at your holiday destination? Do you live in Tenerife and need medical assistance when visiting your GP or a specialist?

We are at your service. Do not hesitate to call or send us a whatsapp  +34 608 988 867.

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