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For assistance in medical care abroad:

- The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (417 Center St., Lewiston, N.Y. 14092, 716-754-4883) regularly updates its 72-page list of recommended English-speaking doctors throughout the world. All of the doctors have undergone at least part of their training in the United States, Canada or Great Britain. They also have agreed to charge a standard fee, which currently is $45 for an office visit and $55 for a house or hotel call. A doctor who asks for more is dropped from the list. The organization also distributes charts detailing climate conditions, food and water hazards and endemic diseases around the world. The list of doctors and the charts are free, but a donation is welcomed.- Worldwide Assistance Services Inc. (1133 15th St. NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20005, 800-821-2828 or 202-331-1609) is one of several international assistance firms with a 24-hour hot line providing medical, legal, financial and other emergency aid abroad to travelers who subscribe in advance to their programs. Worldwide is a part of the Europ Assistance Group, which advertises itself as the oldest and largest traveler support system in the world, with 500 offices in more than 210 countries.

The network maintains a computerized list of recommended doctors and hospitals throughout the world based on inspections made by its evaluation teams. In a medical emergency, staff members direct subscribers to the nearest source of help, monitor their treatment, handle payment and insurance hassles, and will arrange for transportation home or to another hospital.

The cost of this service varies by the amount of coverage requested. Coverage for a family (two parents and up to nine children) for an eight-day trip is $72. For a 15-day trip, the cost is $92. For this fee, you are covered for up to $15,000 in medical costs, and there is no limit on payment for medical evacuation, if required. Worldwide and other plans are sold directly to the consumer or through travel agents.

- Travel Medicine Inc. (351 Pleasant St., Suite 312, Northampton, Mass. 01060, 800-872-8633 or 413-584-0381) offers several services to foreign-bound travelers, including the annual "International Travel Health Guide," by Stuart R. Rose, a physician who is also president of the firm.

- Life-Fax (8825 Roswell Rd., Suite 300, Atlanta, Ga. 30350, 800-487-0329 or 404-552-4140) maintains an up-to-date record of your medical, dental and eye-care background - which you provide - and it will fax the information to hospital emergency rooms and other treatment centers when requested. The cost to subscribe is $19 a year.

- Global Emergency Medical Services (P.O. Box 2023, Roswell, Ga. 30077, 404-992-4427) also maintains a file of your medical history, but it compiles the information in the form of a handy portfolio to carry with you whenever you travel. It also maintains a 24-hour hot line that provides doctor and hospital referrals abroad. In addition, you can request in advance of your trip the names of doctors and hospitals at your destination. This is helpful if you have an existing medical condition; you may want to make contact with a physician abroad before you leave home. The fee is $75 a year.

- Micro-Med Medical I.D. Card (JSA Enterprises, 84 Villa Rd. B-17, Greenville, S.C. 29615, 803-370-1768) is a card for wallet or purse on which personal health information - such as allergies or an abnormal blood pressure - is inscribed. Should you arrive unconscious at an emergency room, the information is available immediately to the medical staff. To obtain a card, you must fill out a medical data information form. The cost of the card is $19. - James T. Yenckel