Margrét gives Icelandic patients security


Karolinska is a highly specialised hospital and the sole provider of several treatment methods in several areas. This is why many international patients are admitted to the hospital every year. Those from Iceland, thanks to our much appreciated cooperation, are particularly well looked after.

As a patient, having to travel abroad for vital treatment can cause both stress and anxiety. As Karolinska University Hospital is highly specialised and the sole provider in several areas, the hospital receives many international patients. For example, several patients come from Iceland every year for various treatments. And these are the ones who, after all, are lucky enough to receive a very personal and competent treatment by compatriot Margret Yrsa Richter, a medical expert and coordinator for Icelandic patients.

- I am there for both patients and their relatives. Depending on the person and the treatment they are going through, everyone has very different needs. This can range from booking accommodation, transport, and personal support. I often meet them on arrival and accompany them to the doctor's appointments so that they can find their way around properly. Many people also find it very nice to be able to speak in their mother tongue with me, even though they are good at English, says Margrét Yrsa Richter.

For Icelandic patients in particular, this often involves treatments in reproductive medicine, cell therapy and stem cell transplants, neurosurgery and foetal medicine, areas where the same highly specialised care is not available in Iceland.

- Some patients are very sick and have to stay for a long time. These are always my priority and I have also developed a close relationship with the staff in the departments where they are most often treated. We have come to know each other well and created our own routines, which are really appreciated by all of us, says Margrét Yrsa Richter.

As coordinator, Margrét Yrsa Richter works closely with the International Patient Office (IPO), the gateway for patients from other countries seeking care at Karolinska University Hospital. Theme Cardiovascular and Neuro receives many patients every year.

Annkatrin Vines

- When an Icelandic patient who is referred to us is called for treatment, I contact Margrét. She will then contact the patient personally, which gives both the patient and their relatives great security. If they have questions about their stay with us, I can find out the answer and Margrét will pass it on directly. It means a lot to them to not have to worry about practical matters and to be able to speak directly to someone with knowledge about our hospital, says Ann-Katrin Vines, International Coordinator at ME Neurosurgery, Theme Cardiovascular and Neuro.

Having personal contact with a knowledgeable person who speaks the same language therefore provides a great deal of reassurance and service to patients, who are at times very ill and often anxious, and who must travel abroad for treatment.

- One wish for the future would be that all our international patients would receive the personal and safe care that Margrét can give our patients from Iceland, says Ann-Katrin Vines.