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Copyright© 2002, 2003, 2004
Marlene R. Fedin
Are You Road-Ready? Read The Latest
You Know Where to Go for Medical Help?
Marlene R. Fedin, The Wellness Concierge®
2002, 2003, 2004, Marlene R. Fedin;
reprint or reuse, on or offline, without
express permission of the author
Resources for Travelers
The executive en route to a critical meeting
didn’t recall the luggage tug-of-war that left her with a deep,
bleeding gash on her hand that she couldn’t ignore. Although she’d
been to this major U.S. airport dozens of times, she still didn’t
have a clue as to where she should go for medical aid.
People tend to associate medical
emergencies and injuries with in-flight situations. But as
many travelers can tell you, you can do a lot of damage on the
ground (car doors, luggage carousels, luggage, even bumps from
fellow travelers can leave you wounded, limping, or worse.)
Do you know what type of ground
assistance is available for an unexpected medical mishap—or
even a life-threatening emergency—at the airport? More
important, can you quickly find an on- of offsite first-aid
station, medical care center, or health clinic?
Airport size and traffic are no
of the type or availability of
resources at the nation’s busiest airports range from specially
trained (paramedic or EMS- or EMT-qualified) airport police or fire
department staffers (24/7) to on-site clinics with an array of
nurses and doctors that accept and treat travelers as well as
airport and airline staff. (Some of these routinely provide
immunizations and vaccinations.)
Airport size and traffic are no indicator of the type or
availability of medical aid. Three (ORD, LAX, and SFO) of the
top airports have an on-site medical clinic that handles passengers,
as does LAS, BOS, PIT, and JFK, along with PHL and HNL. Hours,
services, and staffing within the hours of operation vary; HNL, JFK,
LAX, and SFO offer 24-hour service.
Airports can provide on-site emergency care and transport to
local hospitals for life-threatening problems. But the
unavailability of on-site nurses and doctors in some cases means a
traveler may need to stop at an offsite facility for necessary
stitches, X-rays, or other tests, for a less-than-critical medical
problem. (Do not even think about heading for a local hospital's ER
unless you're really critical or you're prepared to wait hours for
According to a medical
spokesperson for the Centinela Hospital Airport Medical Clinic at
LAX, the first rule is to "Ask for help. Business people often try
to tough it out," she notes, and only wind up complicating things.
Here are some tips for maximizing treatment response time.
assume someone will know you need help.
Ask an airline or airport staffer for aid.
for an airport courtesy or emergency phone.
In many cases, you will be connected with the proper help or be
provided with numbers to call. Information about the airport’s
medical services may be posted on these phones.
general, avoid calling the airport’s main number. You’ll only
be bombarded with endless voice messages. In an emergency, you could
waste valuable time finding help.
TIP: If You Repeatedly Travel Via the Same
If you're looking for information on
a specific airport, begin your search online at
The site contains more information (type and location of medical
facilities and Travelers Aid and Info desks, including phone
numbers) on individual airport facilities than most airport sites.
else fails, whip out your cell phone
or hit the pay phone and dial 911.
plastic. Given the strict rules on
emergency-care coverage by HMOs and PPOs, your only option may be to
charge any incurred costs. While a few airports take checks or will
bill, the most widely available—and accepted—option is a credit
situation can wait and you
prefer to seek treatment later, call ahead to your hotel or get
help at a Travelers Aid station (available at many larger
airports) for referral to a local clinic, physician, or hospital. In
large cities, there are often independent travel-health clinics
located nearby that may be able to provide needed help. Because
hours and staffing of these facilities vary, save time and
You can search for
clinics on the
International Society of Travel Medicine's Clinic Directory.
Copyright© 2002, 2003,
2004, Marlene R. Fedin; no reprint or reuse, on or offline, without
express permission of the author
MEDICAL RESOURCES FOR TRAVELERS*
Hours, services, and staffing
vary and are subject to change.
International Health Center (1 Harborside Drive, East
DIA: Medical center on
the upper level of the terminal; 303-317-0607
ORD: University of
Illinois Medical Center at O'Hare (Terminal 2 Airside);
HNL: Airport Medical
Services (Main Passenger Terminal).
Queen's Airport Medical (Near Japanese Gardens by AAL
Admiral's Club, lower level of Terminal building);
808-836-6643; open 24 hours. Registered nurse always on
IAH: Airport Medical Safety unit (Terminal C
South Concourse), EMT staffed
JFK: Kennedy Medical
Offices (Bldg. 198, JFK Airport, Jamaica, New York);
718-656-5344; Languages: English (principal), Spanish;
Pre-Travel Vaccination, Official Yellow Fever Vaccine
Center, Post-Travel Medical Consultation
Traveler's Aid services
(718-656-4870) are located in Terminal 6, with counters
also in Terminals 3, 7, and 8.
LAS: First Aid and
Medical Clinic (Terminal 1, near A & B security
checkpoints; Terminal 2 near Gate 8); Referrals to
University Medical Center Quick Care facility (one mile
from airport), 2202 West Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, NV ;
702-383-6270; it's physician staffed, 24/7; airport
LAX: Centinela Hospital
Medical Aid (First Aid) Station (Tom Bradley International
Terminal) and Centinela Hospital Airport Medical Clinic
(near the entrance to LAX; Robert F. Kennedy Medical
Center, 9601 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA;
Travelers Aid booths are
located on the lower/Arrivals level of each terminal near
baggage claim. Airport Info: 24-hour recorded information
PHL: Mercy CarePort at
the airport (Terminals A & B connector); 215-492-2196. It
also provides immunization services, by appointment, on a
Airport: General 24-hour
information (215-937-6937; TDD: 215-937-6755)
PIT: University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center at PIT (Concourse C, Airside
Terminal). Paramedics provide emergency medical services.
Airport information desks
(412-472-3525, Landside; 412-472-5525, Airside) are in the
central areas of both the Landside Terminal (on the
transit level) and Airside Terminal (on the concourse
level); Travelers' Aid desk, located on baggage claim
level of the Landside Terminal, offers general travel
assistance and information in emergency situations
SFO: Medical Clinic;
650-821-5600; Terminal 2, lower level
YYZ:: Medical Emergency
Clinics are available in all three terminals. Basement
Level, Terminal 1 (by the main elevators); 905-676-2840;
Departures Level, Terminal 2 (in the public concourse);
full-service medical center, 905-676-2840; Departures
Level, Terminal 3 (in the public concourse beside security
* Every attempt has been made
to obtain timely and accurate information, however, some
information may have changed since posting. Call ahead.
Please read the following
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Marlene R. Fedin.
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