No One Wants a Medical Emergency When Traveling. But If You Have One, Copenhagen, Denmark is a great place for it to happen. Yesterday was our family's first full day in Copenhagen, where I'm doing site inspections of my clients' favorite luxury hotels. We were also meeting up with Danish friends of ours for lunch. Unfortunately, before we could all sit down for lunch, my husband was exposed to an allergen that causes anaphylaxis in him, and recognized he was going into anaphylactic shock.
Fortunately, he had his EpiPen with him, although he was hoping not to have to use it. With the help of our Danish friend, we found a taxi to take us to the nearest hospital. On the way, my husband could feel his throat swelling up, so he administered the EpiPen, jabbing it into his thigh. From our subsequent experience, here are five reasons Copenhagen is a great place to be, should you have an emergency.
Rigshospitalet is Nearby
We didn't bother trying to call and wait for an ambulance, as time was of the essence. From where we were, near Nørreport Station, it was a quick 5 minute drive (well, we did urge the poor taxi driver to drive as fast as possible, lest he have my husband die in his taxi) to the Rigshospitalet, which is Copenhagen's premier research hospital. Fortunately central Copenhagen is fairly compact, so it was easy to reach.
Everyone Speaks English
At the hospital, I ran ahead to the clearly marked Information booth, asked where Emergency was, and got clear directions to the downstairs Trauma Center. The nurse and doctors who saw my husband also spoke perfect English. Nearly everyone except very young children in Denmark speaks English, so it made a harrowing day much, much easier, even though we were lucky enough to be with our Danish speaking friends.
Easy and Quick to Be Seen
We've had our share of visits to various NYC hospitals for various reasons, and while the doctors have all been fantastic, sometimes there have been longish waits, and crowded waiting rooms. Not so during my husband's visit to the Rigshospitalet Trauma Center. He was immediately admitted into a room with a bed, a nurse took his vitals and administered antihistamine and steroid injections to reduce swelling, and before very long a cardiologist came to examine him.
There were a few other patients, but not many. At least on the day we visited, Copenhageners seemed to be healthy and fortunately not in need of emergency care.
Emergency Visit Completely Free of Charge
We expected to have to pay something, which we would then submit to our insurance for reimbursement. But in fact, the entire emergency room visit was free of charge, and the doctor even provided us a prescription for additional EpiPens, so we could replace the one we used.
Assistance Getting Home
Since my husband had to stay under observation for 8 hours, it was late that night before he could be released. I needed to put our son to bed at the hotel, so I gave my husband the cash for a taxi to the metro station and a transit pass for the metro ride to the hotel. The nurse asked him if he needed help getting to his hotel, and was happy to call a taxi for him. She even had the taxi driver come into the hospital to escort him to the taxi, which was very thoughtful.
Have you had to seek emergency medical care while traveling, and if so, how was the emergency care in the country you were traveling in?
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