Medical Emergency, what to do if you are in Germany!?

So let me put down my personal experiences in this blog article.

It is never nice to feel sick. Especially not, if it is an emergency.

And on Sundays most doctor’s will be closed…

Obviously, though, you can still get medical help. Here are a few options!

Also, let me put this down right at the start: Call 112 in a medical emergency!

#1 It‘s weekend, or in the middle of the night. I don’t feel well. Who can I call for help?

Imagine: It’s Sunday and all doctors are at home with their families… Where to go to?

In Germany you can always call a doctor, if you do not feel well. Even on the weekends.

If it’s in the middle of the night or on the weekend when all the clinics have closed, then you can call 116 117.

Here you can talk directly to a German doctor.

You can also call this number during the day, if you feel you are unable to leave the house.

So, let me sum up….When to call 116 117?

You can call it if you have a bad fever; if you cut yourself but you are not bleeding to death; or if you feel pain that is not absolutely acute. At least that is what I have been told!

Once you have called the number, they will usually send a doctor to come and see you personally.

The doctor will give you medicine on the spot. In the worst case he will call an ambulance to take you to hospital.

#2 Medical emergency in Germany – what to do!?

If you are in a very serious medical situation immediately call 112.

This is the emergency number in Germany.

If you ring this number, please indicate
– where you live,
– who you are and
– what is wrong.

They will send an ambulance to you, which should arrive very quickly!

Only call the emergency hotline in a medical emergency! 

In case of high emergency you can also drive to a hospital (Krankenhaus) yourself.

You can report to the Accident and Emergency (Ambulanz / Notaufnahme) at any hospital. For this just google “Krankenhaus + your city“.

Call ‘112’ for high emergency cases; call ‘116 117’ for other emergencies. Both numbers work 24/7.

How to see a doctor in Germany – 9 Practical Tips!

#3 Going to hospital in Germany

First of all, the German word for hospital is ‘Krankenhaus’. You can easily google it.

Once you arrive at the hospital, there is normally a main reception. And also an A&E. This is for all the emergencies!

Make sure to bring your Gesundheitskarte (proof of health insurance) and your passport when you go to a hospital.

So, you are wondering who pays for the hospital visit? This depends on your type of health insurance.

There are various options here, for example

  1. public health insurance provider,
  2.  private health insurance provider
  3. travel insurance provider
  4. self-payment

In any case, my experience is that it is always best to call your provider up and ask!

For me it has come in really handy to always carry around my health insurance provider’s hotline in my purse! So I can always ring them up.

#4 Why do I call the fire brigade in case of emergency in Germany?!

Firstly, the emergency numbers in Germany are 110 (police) and 112 (fire brigade).

Strangely enough, in Germany you call the fire brigade in case of health-related emergencies.

The reason is simple.

Having one hotline for all emergencies makes the coordination easier.

Once you call them, they will ask you questions like: where you are, what happened, etc.

Quickly afterwards they will forward your information to the nearest hospital or fire brigade – depending on the kind of emergency you are reporting.

Importantly, don’t be confused in the following case.

If someone has a heart attack and a German says, ‘I’m calling the fire brigade’!

Haha. What that person really means to say is,

‘I’m calling for help!’

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