At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is a Medical Escort?

Jillian O Keeffe
Jillian O Keeffe

When a person falls ill or becomes injured in a country other than their own, he or she may wish to return home for treatment. Traveling alone may not be safe, but medical escort companies can provide trained personnel, medical supplies and even a private flight for the patient. As well as plane journeys, the medical escort may accompany the patient in an ambulance to the hospital.

Travel or health insurance may cover an ill person for the cost of travel, but this can vary with individual cases. Medical escorts are private companies that do not provide hospital treatment, but rather the expertise to look after the person until he or she reaches home. Typically, the medical escort assesses the patient before travel, to ensure it is safe, but approval of the doctor who treated the person initially is also usually required. Employees of these companies may include doctors, paramedics and nurses.


If a patient is not severely ill, a medical escort service may simply offer the person a companion for a regular flight. This company may handle logistical necessities like buying airline tickets and organizing luggage, and the companion helps the person stay comfortable during the flight. For patients who need more monitoring, a medical escort carries a supply of equipment and medications, and is trained to use them. Even on a regular flight, if it is necessary, the company can provide a stretcher bed for the patient to lie on.

Private flights are also an option for a medical escort, if the patient is too ill to travel on a regular flight or if he or she prefers to fly privately. In this case the company provides the plane, the pilots and the medical personnel to monitor the patient on the flight. Family or friends may be able to accompany the person on the plane also.

Transport to and from the airport may also be included in the service, if the patient needs ambulance transport. The medical escort personnel in this case generally travel with the patient to the hospital, and are responsible for all paperwork and the handover to the hospital staff. Typically, a private flight is more expensive than an escort on a regular flight, and flying in a larger plane costs more than a smaller plane. Airport fees are typically paid by the patient.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Nurse