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How to Handle a Medical Emergency in Rome

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

How to handle a medical emergency in Rome
Medical emergency in Rome

Life in the Eternal City can be amazing, but when you have a medical emergency in Rome, it can turn things on their head.

In the event of an unfortunate medical emergency in Italy, here is the specific number to call!

Who to Call for an Ambulance?

To report a medical emergency (emergenza sanitaria), call 118.

They’ll ask you to describe the circumstances and, depending on the gravity of the situation, assign a color code:

  • White (bianco): non-critical

  • Green (verde): non-urgent

  • Yellow (giallo): critical/urgent

  • Red (rosso): emergency

They’ll then dispatch the appropriate assistance to provide treatment at the scene and/or take you to the nearest hospital.

When in doubt…

If you’re not sure who to speak to, call 112. You’ll be connected to the Universal European Emergency Services who will direct you to the correct line. Depending on where in Italy you’re calling from, they may connect you to the Carabinieri–the military police force–who can assist with any emergency.

The number is available free of charge throughout the EU from all phones, including mobiles, and you can call even without credit or a valid SIM card. Assistance is available in multiple languages, including English.

Emergency vs. Urgent Care: What's the difference?

If you have a serious accident or medical emergency like life- or limb-threatening health conditions, immediate care is the best option for you. When you have a life-threatening emergency, such as a heart attack or serious head injury, you need to visit to the emergency department.

Non-life threatening problems like minor illness or injury that can't wait until tomorrow, they can be addressed to an urgent care center. Common illnesses, such as the flu, ear infections, strep throat, small cuts that require stitches, etc. you can visit to an urgent care center. You can find more detailed information here about what is considered Urgent Care.

If you are unsure whether your situation is life threatening, you can get in touch with an emergency care until a medical professional can declare the ailment is non-life threatening.

If you’re looking for English-speaking urgent care in Rome, consider FirstMed Centers Rome your base.

Useful phrases for medical assistance in Rome

We know that the best emergency care often comes from local responders. If you need urgent attention, however, it can be difficult to express the problem. This can be exacerbated by the stress of the situation.

If you need to call 118 (the Italian medical emergency line), here are some useful phrases you’ll want to know:

  • Help! – Aiuto!

  • Call an ambulance – Chiami un’ambulanza

  • Please hurry – Fate presto, per favore

  • I need a doctor – Ho bisogno di un dottore

  • Take me to the emergency room – Portatemi al pronto soccorso

  • He/she isn’t breathing – Non respira

  • Is there anyone here who speaks English? – C’è qualcuno qui che parla inglese?

  • There has been an accident – C’è stato un incidente

  • Our address is… - Il nostro indirizzo è…

  • He/she is unconscious – Lui/lei è svenuto/a

  • He/she hit his/her head – Ha battuto la testa

  • The person has a broken bone - Ha l’osso rotto

  • Some people are badly injured – Ci sono feriti gravi

Get Medical Assistance in Rome

Getting medical care in Rome can be difficult, even when you’re not in an urgent situation. This process can be made even more complicated when you add the foreign language dimension. If you’re seeking English-speaking medical assistance in Rome, private treatment may be the best route to take.

Private hospitals and clinics are advantageous in many ways. Most of them accept different types of international insurances and may have direct-billing agreements set up, which could mean you won’t have to open your wallet!

If you just want to talk with a care provider to evaluate your condition before booking a traditional visit, remote health consultations are available. Telemedicine can be a useful tool for the doctor to understand whether or not you should have an in-person visit. It could also serve as a way to decide what the best course of treatment or specialist referral could be.

At FirstMed, besides the fact that the medical and administrative staff can communicate with you in English, you don’t have to wait weeks to be seen. Your visit will take place in a clean, quiet facility with state-of-the-art facilities. We’re conveniently located near Termini central station and are easily reachable by public transport or taxi.

Get an Urgent Prescription Refilled in Rome

If you have an unexpected stay extension or need a prescription refill for any reason, there are a few things you should know.

Firstly, if you are on any prescription medications, it’s always good practice to have a scan or printed copy of your doctor’s note with you for each prescription. This will ensure that the attending physician can verify your prescription and–if the medicine is not available in the country–suggest an alternative.

Next, if it is your first time visiting that particular facility, many centers will ask to have a medical evaluation by their doctor before they will be comfortable authorizing any medicines. This can be difficult if you don’t speak Italian! This is why FirstMed offers you care in partnership with different private insurance companies and advantageous cashpayer prices.

Lastly, if you’re approaching the last of your available prescribed medicine, don’t wait! Don’t wait until you’ve run out of medication before contacting a medical center. The sooner you are able to be seen, the earlier you can have your prescription refill!

Get a Covid test in Rome

Borders have reopened and international travel is on all of our minds! Covid restrictions, although reduced, are still in place in many countries. If you need a Covid test for travel or want to be sure you’re not Covid positive, click the link to make an appointment to get a Covid test in Rome.


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