- What to do in a medical emergency
- Emergency terms
- Where to go
- Poisoning
- Medical care at night, weekends and holidays
- Pharmacies, Insurance, Pregnancy

What to do in a medical emergency:

1. Call your own doctor and ask for advice. family doctors are usually very accomodating and wil help with any problems or questions regarding all family members. Many will make house calls.
2. Dial 194 to call ambulance, or call 112 for all emergencies, you will be put through to a doctor, but he or she might not speak English. You should learn how to pronounce your full address in Croatian including: street name, house number, floor, and the area of town, as well as your telephone number. In reality, most doctors do speak English. Every ambulance carries a doctor and staff trained in emergency care, who can provide emergency medical attention in situ. Afterwards, if necessary, the ambulance will transfer you to a specific hospital, depending on your condition and where you are.
3. You can sometimes wait a very long time for an Ambulance to arrive, so the other option is to drive to the hospital with the patient in your own car, your neighbour's car, or call a taxi. This applies especially in the case of children, as the public Ambulance service does not have paediatricians available-just go straight to Klaićeva Children's Hospital.

There is no specific eye emergency ward, so you should just go to the nearest hospital or emergency centre.

Emergency terms

Ambulance  Ambulanta or Zdravstvena stanica
Emergency Room/A&E/Casualty/Trauma  Hitna služba or Trauma
Accident  Nesreća
Angina pectoris  bol u prsima
Appendicitis  upala slijepog crijeva
Chest pain  bol u prsnom košu
Choking  gušenje
Convulsion (child)  konvulzije
Diabetic coma  dijabetička koma
Drug overdose  trovanje lijekom
Emergency  hitan slučaj
Epileptic fit  epileptična koma
Fever  temperatura
Heart  srce
Heart attact  infarkt
Loss of consciousness gubitak svijesti
Poisoning  trovanje
Seizure  konvulzije, napadaj
Serious accident  teška nesreća
Severe bleeding jako krvarenje
Severe breathing difficulties  teški problemi s disanjem
Severe pain  jaka bol
Stroke  moždani udar

Where to go

Find out which is the closets hospital to your home, where the Emergency Room/Casualty Department (Hitna služba or Trauma) is located, and learn how to drive there. All hospital in Zagreb are open 24 hours a day and have a doctor available in case of emergency.

Poisoning (Trovanje)

Again, our best advice is be prepared. Emergency information in Croatian and English is available 24 hours a day from the Zagreb Poison Control Centre: tel: 01 2348 342 .

The U.S. Poison center has the following recommendations:

1. Do not induce vomiting as this could worsen the damage.
2. Call a poison centre  for advice, as different chemicals need to be handled differently.

Be prepared: If you are unable to read the Croatian labels on household products, ask someone to translate the 'active ingredient' in each product and the percentage of active ingredient present. Keep this information on the bottle in case of emergency, as it will be essential to tell those caring for the patient.

Pharmacies (Ljekarne)

There are many pharmacies located all over Zagreb and in most cases there is someone there who speaks good English. Most drugs are not available without a doctor's prescription, so be sure to ask for one, if your doctor recommends any medicitation.

Typical opening hours for pharmacies in Zagreb are:
Monday-Friday  08:00-20:00
Saturday 08:00-14:00

However, here are some 24-hour pharmacies open every day from Monday to Sunday, including holidays:

- Trg bana Jelačića 3
- Ilica 301
- Grižanska 4, Dubrava
- Ozaljska 1

Healthcare in Croatia is good, though it may not be up to the standard you are used to in your home country. Not all the facilities are fully modernised and high-tech equipment is not available everywhere, although the doctors are well trained and new facilities and equipment are being introduced all the time. Customs associated with treatment, as well as hospital etiquette, may also be different in Croatia. Many people are very happy receiving regular treatments and emergency care here, but choose to return to their home country for other things, sometimes simply because they feel more comfortable at home. Your country's Consulate or Embassy and, perhaps, your company may be able to provide a list of doctors who speak your native language. Of course the best way is to ask your co-workers or friends in Zagreb.

Private Polyclinics

Private Polyclinics are now to be found all over Zagreb. Some are very big and offer almoust everything under one roof. Most doctors speak good English.

Public Health Centres

Domovi Zdravlja (Public Health Centres)

There are local health centres that are located in each neighbourhood and are associated with the National healthcare system. You must be a participant in the ZO to go to these clinics, but of course in an emergency there are doctors present who would assist you. There are general practitioners as well as dentist, paediatricians and midwives, etc., available here. These public heath centres are usually the first place you would visit to get an initial diagnosis and referral to a hospital or clinic, if necessary.

Health Insurance

There are two main types of insurance: the Croatian National Health Insurance and private health insurance.

National Health Insurance

Croatia has a national health insurance system that covers all its citizens. Resident foreigners are only covered if they country of origin has a reciprocal health agreement with Croatia. Different reciprocal arrangements apply to nationals of different countries-check with your Embassy.

For your Extended Stay Visa application, along with other agreement, you must submit evidence of the minimum legally required health insurance or evidence of your entitlement to healthcare in Croatia.

If your country does not have a reciprocal social insurance agreement, or your national cover is not valid for the period of your stay, then you must register with HZZO and pay for minimum health Insurance Institute (Hrvatski zavod za zdravstveno osiguranje: HZZO) or privately. If you are directly employed by a Croatian Health Insurance scheme.

The cover provided through reciprocal social insurance agreements, and the arrangements for payment and reclaim, vary by country. The cover is quite limited and it may be that you should also consider additional private medical insurance. Provided you are already registered with HZZO, you can obtain 'top up' private health insurance from the following insurance companies, to cover medical services not available under the Croatian National Health service, on the same terms as Croatians.

Private Medical Insurance

Most foreigners coming to work in Croatia are covered by private health insurance from their home country, either paid for privately or by their employer. Your insurance company will provide full details regarding your cover. If you receive private treatment in a public hospital or clinic in Croatia, you will have to pay at the time of treatment. Always ask for a receipt, so that you  can reclaim the expense from your insurance company.

Insurance for Tourist

Croatia follows international convention and medical staff will treat any tourist needing care. However, emergency medical services are free only if there is a signed health insurance agreement between Croatia and your country of origin. Health care costs for tourists from a country that does not have a reciprocal social insurance agreement with Croatia must be paid for directly by the user.

Pregnancy (Trudnoća)

When choosing a doctor to monitor your pregnancy, you may choose a private gynaecologist or one at a public health centre. The former can provide you with better service, in terms of having an ultrasound machine and perhaps other equipment on site. A typical schedule in Croatia during pregnancy is to have nine check-ups (every four weeks). Usually there is an internal examination at each visit and three ultrasounds in total. Some private gynaecologists will do an ultrasound at each visit. If you have chosen a doctor at a public health centre, he or she may give you a 'Mother Passport' (Trudnička knjižica) in which all examinations and treatments during your pregnancy will be recorded, including the birth information. Take this passport to all your appointments during your pregnancy and to the hospital when you deliver. It is also recommended that you carry your 'passport' with you at all times. If you experience any difficulties, any doctor will easily be to see your medical history. Your own doctor typically attends the delivery and the midwife on duty at the hospital will assist. You may be able to hire a private midwife if desired, check with your physician.

Choosing a hospital

In most hospitals the father can be present during a normal delivery. In general, hospital stays in Croatia after delivery are 3-5 days, while a caesarean delivery often requires a 10-day stay.

There are four main hospitals used for delivering babies: Sveti Duh, Vinogradska, Petrova and Merkur. Each have different services to offer regarding private rooms, use of epidurals, etc., as well as neonatal facilities.

Immunisations (Cjepljenje)

If you have questions about the necessary vaccinations for your child, ask your general practitioner or paediatrician. Immunisations are covered  by ZO. If requested, most paediatricians will follow the immunisation schedule of your home country.

Tick Immunisation (Cjepljenje protiv krpelja)

The Central European tick is found in many of Croatia's wooded areas, including Sljeme mountain in Zagreb. It transmits a serious illnes that causes inflammation of the brain-a form of Meningitis know as Early Summer Meningoencephalitis. If you  intend to spend any time in the mountains or in wooded parks, etc., during the spring time, you should certainly be immunised. You will receive a series of three intramuscular injections, given according to the following schedule:

First injection: late winter to early spring (before the ticks become active)

Second injection: four weeks later

Third injection: 9-12 month later

Booster injection: Every 3 years (one single dose)

Protection starts after the second injection and is complete after the third. The shots can be administred by your regular doctor.

Medical Specialties:

Dental/Dentist  stomatolog/zubar
Dermatology  dermatologija
Ear, Nose & Throat  uho-grlo-nos
Gynaecology and Obstetrics  ginekologija I porodništvo
Infectious Disease Hospital  zarazna bolnica
Internal Medicine  interna medicina
Neurology  neurokirurgija
Neurosurgery  neurokirurgija
Ophtamology  oftamologija or okulistika
Orthodontics  ortodont
Orthopaedics  ortopedija
Paediatrics  Pedijatrija
Physiotherapy  fizikalna terapija
Psychiatry  psihijatrija
Pulmonary Disease  pulmologija
Radiology  radiologija
Surgery  kirurgija
Urology  urologija
Vascular surgery  vaskularna kirurgija
Veneral Disease  venerične bolesti


The tap water in Zagreb is extremely hard (full of minerals), but perfectly healthy. It has no harmful ingredients, although many people prefer to filter it. Brita water filters and cartridges are available all over town. No flouride is added to the water supply in Croatia, so it is a good idea to give your children a daily flouride tablet. The hard water is not good for appliances and you will notice how quickly the scale builds up. Apart from adding Calgon or Calgonit to your dishwasher, you can also add it to your washing machine.




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