How-to Handle Travel Emergencies

End of Life Management Toolkit #9 | by Team Passare and Y Colaborative

9. What to do if a Loved One Dies During Your Trip

If the most unfortunate situation happens, and a loved one dies while you are traveling, follow these steps:

  • In the US, dial 911 to immediately report the death to police. The police or emergency medical personnel will attempt resuscitation, and/or determine the time of death, if authorized. The police may wish to investigate further into the death. The body of your loved one may need to be moved to a hospital where a doctor can make a legal pronouncement of death.


    Important Note: If your loved one has signed a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) document, or is wearing a “DNR” or “Comfort Care Only” bracelet, medical personnel will not attempt resuscitation. If your loved one’s driver’s license or Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD) authorizes organ donation, immediately inform the medical staff so they can determine if organ or tissue donation is a viable option.

  • When outside the US, contact local authorities as soon as possible. Then contact the US Embassy or call 1-888-407-4747 for the Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.
  • Contact loved ones and immediate family members. Ask them to contact others. In addition to making direct contact by telephone, you may wish to use social media to notify friends and others of your loved one’s death.


    Important Note: For a step-by-step guide for what to do in the first 24 hours after a death occurs, please read the Passare document, “End of Life Management 101: When Death Occurs: A 24-Hour Guide.”


The information contained in this booklet is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney. The information contained in this booklet is subject to change and does not purport to be a complete statement of all relevant issues. In certain jurisdictions this may constitute attorney advertising.

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