Cathy Lizak
Contributing writer
last updated 03/09/2023

How do I medically repatriate from the Caribbean?

Recovering from a medical emergency during a cruise or vacation

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Repatriating a patient from the Caribbean can be a complex process, and it is important to carefully plan and coordinate the patient's care and transportation. At Global Air Ambulance we are here to help you find the best medical transportation option for your patient.

Whether your patient needs an air ambulance or is able to fly on a commercial airline with the help of an RN escort, we will be with you every step of the way to make sure your patient Is transported in the safest and most efficient way. Following are five important steps in the patient repatriation process.

  1. Coordinate with healthcare providers: It is important to work with the patient's healthcare providers in the Caribbean to ensure that they are stable enough to travel and that their medical needs will be met during the journey. Our medical staff will have a consultation with the attending physician in the Caribbean to determine the mode of transport which the patient requires. This will involve obtaining medical records and understanding the current care needs of the patient.

  2. Choose a mode of transportation: There are options for transporting the patient back to their home country, including commercial flights with an escort and private air ambulances. It is important to consider the patient's medical condition and choose a mode of transportation that is safe and appropriate. We will work the sending facility staff to determine the appropriate way to transport the patient while considering your priorities for the patient as well.

  3. Obtain necessary documents and visas: Depending on the patient's nationality and the country they are returning to, it may be necessary to obtain documents such as a passport or visa. It may also be necessary to obtain permission from the government to transport the patient out of the country. In some cases for non US citizens, it is necessary to work with the consulate of the sending country to obtain a medical visa to come to enter the United States. We have experience with this process and can assist you.

  4. Arrange for medical support during the journey: It is important to ensure that the patient has adequate medical support during the journey. Once our medical staff has completed the medical consultation with the healthcare providers in the Caribbean, we will establish the medical staff that is required to ensure a safe transport for the patient. If the patient is considered a good candidate for commercial airline escort, then a nurse will be assigned to the transport. If private air ambulance is required, then our standard team consist of a registered nurse and a respiratory therapist. We do have physicians, and specialty crews such as pediatric teams on staff if required.

  5. Coordinate with the destination healthcare facility: It is important to coordinate with the destination healthcare facility to ensure that the patient will receive appropriate care upon arrival. This may involve arranging for the patient to be transferred to a hospital or other healthcare facility, or coordinating with the patient's primary care provider. By law Global Air Ambulance can not bring a patient from a facility out of the country unless there is an appropriate facility in the United States that has accepted the patient and has assigned an accepting physician. This acceptance is accomplished by working with the receiving facilities admission department. At Global Air Ambulance we are very familiar with this process and can guide you in securing a receiving facility for your patient.

Whether it is a medical emergency that occurs while on a cruise ship in the Caribbean or an unfortunate accident that takes place while at a Caribbean resort, repatriation for the Caribbean is a process we are very familiar with at Global Air Ambulance. Our staff is available twenty four hours a day seven days a week to assist you and your loved ones with all your medical transportation needs.

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