hospital emergency room
Medical Care

1 in 4 Vacations Includes a Trip to the ER

If you’ve ever had to seek medical attention for an illness or an injury during a vacation, you’re not alone. A new national survey by Orlando Health finds one in four vacations includes a trip to the ER and doctors say many patients are simply not prepared for the situation.

A release from Orlando Health quotes Steven Corbett, MD, an emergency medicine physician with Dr. P. Phillips Hospital at Orlando Health, as saying, “When you’re going on vacation the last thing you want to think about is a medical emergency, but with just a few simple steps, you can rest assured that you will be prepared for any situation.”

Because the emergency department at which Corbett works is located in the heart of one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, it’s one of the busiest in the country, treating more than 80,000 patients per year. “We really see the gamut,” said Corbett. “If you can think it or imagine it, quite honestly, we’ve seen it.”

The facility is so busy, in fact, that it offers overnight accommodations through the Cynthia C. and William E. Perry Pavilion to friends and family who bring in loved ones for emergency care. “We have an entire department that does nothing more than help the families and friends of our patients,” said Corbett. “Not only are they welcome to stay here for a per-night donation, but we will ferry them back and forth to their hotels and even pick up their car for them from the theme park where they may have left it.”

Corbett says many travelers make the same mistakes when it comes to medical emergencies on vacation, and he offers a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for your next trip:

Don’t Force it – If you are sick or injured before your vacation begins, stay home. “I understand that we only get so many days off throughout the year and we spend a lot of time planning our vacations,” said Corbett, “but I see people every day who think they can manage their conditions only to wind up in the ER, which ruins the trip for everyone involved.”

Carry Your Medical Information with You – If you are dealing with a medical issue at the time of your trip or if you have a chronic condition, be sure to carry pertinent information with you. “You can store a lot of information on your phone,” said Corbett. “Make a list of allergies you might have, take photos of your prescriptions and upload images to your phone like x-rays, MRIs or EKG results. The more information you can provide to us, the more efficiently we can treat you.” There is a side note, however: be sure someone else knows how to unlock your phone and retrieve that information. “It’s great if you have those things, but it does no good if we can’t get to it. Make sure your phone is unlocked and the information is readily available.”