Treating a Throat Infection Abroad


Getting sick when you are abroad can be worrisome. Not only do you have to manage your illness, but you may also have to negotiate unfamiliar healthcare systems and languages. The case study below highlights how we helped a member get best-in-class medical treatment while he was travelling in France.

Service: International SOS membership

Location: Paris, France


David Xu*, an Atlanta-based marketing director, usually looked forward to his annual week-long sales conference in Paris. This trip, unfortunately, took a turn for the worse.

David arrived in Paris on a Monday morning with a sore throat. The next day, his throat felt worse and he began taking acetaminophen for the pain. On Wednesday, David started to run a fever. While he could drink liquids, it was painful to swallow food. He called the International SOS Assistance Centre in Paris for help.

Doctor checking patient mouth


International SOS answered the phone within 20 seconds and put him through to an English-speaking physician, Dr Philippe Michel. After asking him about his medical condition, Dr Michel scheduled a same-day appointment at an accredited American hospital with English-speaking medical staff.  The Assistance Centre guaranteed payment for the hospital visit with David’s US medical insurer, so he did not have to pay on the day for his treatment. At the hospital, the local doctor verified that David’s tonsils were enlarged and reddened with spots of infection. The physician inquired about his allergies and discovered that David was allergic to penicillin.

David picked up his medication, a broad-spectrum antibiotic unrelated to penicillin, and an anti-inflammatory drug, at a nearby pharmacy. He was able to claim for the costs of the prescription with his medical insurer.

Knowing his infection was unusually severe, Dr Michel felt that David was not fit to fly back to Atlanta that Friday. Bad throat infections can affect the middle ear and changes in air pressure may damage the ear drum. With David’s permission, the Assistance Centre contacted the airline postponing his flight home by 24-hours with no additional cost. That Saturday, David felt a little better and was advised by the Assistance Centre that he could fly home safely.


David fully recovered shortly after arriving home and finished his prescription. With his International SOS membership, he was comforted by the fact he had access to premium medical assistance and care while he was abroad.

* Name has been changed to protect member's identity.