Countries with best and worst medical care for travelers


Are you in good hands around the world when it comes to medical care? (iStock)

The healthcare system in the U.S. may not be perfect but when it comes to caring for outsiders, it beats dozens of countries around the world.

International SOS, which provides emergency safety and medical services for companies with employees abroad, has just released its annual ratings detailing medical and dental care abroad.

In some countries– like the U.S., Nordic countries and most of Western Europe—the evidence is clear that if you fall ill or require emergency medical services, you will be in good hands. But in other nations, the story is a bit more complex.

Take China, for example. “They’ve got CAT scans and MRIs, and it all seems brilliant. But then there’s not the proper training on how to use the machines,” Dr. Robert Quigley, senior vice president of medical assistance and regional director for International SOS, told NPR.

And in Brazil, medical care in readily available in major cities. “Their private health care infrastructure is as competitive as anything you would find in the United States,” according to Quigley. But if you’re outside of Rio or Sao Paolo, it’s best to head back to the U.S.

In many Sub-Saharan countries and the Middle East, economic instability has led to sub-par health care since well-education physicians are more likely to seek better opportunity elsewhere. And in many of these countries, the best quality of care will found in private hospitals—not emergency centers where you’d likely be taken in the event of an emergency.

“Remember the EMS equivalent in these countries tends to be affiliated with the public hospital system,” Quigley told NPR. “So if you’re hit by a car, you’re going to automatically get taken to a public hospital, where you run into a whole lot of issues around their comprehension of hygiene — how they process blood to ensure it’s not contaminated, for example.”

Check out a shaded map of the world’s best and worst countries for medical care.

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