ITIC Global 2021: Air ambulance and medical assistance


Andrew Lee began with candid words: “As an industry we need to do something to make sure that we are doing the best we can for our customers and our people. This central question would be reiterated by the panel.

Terry Martin of Aeromed GB traveled across East and South East Asia to work with air medical operators in his early months and was aware of how seriously they were taking him, and how much of the West was not: “My immediate action was about the need for how to decide how to move patients with Covid-19.

“How do you know that a patient is not a carrier of this virus? It occurred to me that we should treat all patients the same, as if we were transporting highly infectious patients. “

Initially, Martin posted his thoughts in two key categories: is the aircraft suitable for the transfer of highly infectious patients and does the service offer a capacity for patient isolation? He noted the tedious nature of planning and communication, but noted, “It was extremely important that we were right immediately. We must protect not only the medical personnel but also the crew, the pilots, the ambulance on the ground, have they been properly informed of the risks? “

The question of data would be the subject of much discussion; the panel asserted that we all have commercially sensitive data that we keep to ourselves. But there is enough data to create a fascinating insight. “If we don’t share the data, how do we create best practices? “

FAI’s Volker Lemke explained how, as early as January 2020, FAI had been approached to transfer patients from China to Europe, and it was the pilots who would immediately refuse without proper isolation units. Starting in January, FAI ordered its first EpiShuttles and then ordered IsoArks in advance.

International outbreaks were not covered by the media, but FAI could only track the locations of pickup locations – Africa and the Middle East, primarily Afghanistan. National restrictions have resulted in the loss of standard hubs and the loss of proven routes that have been used for years. Having to identify new hubs where teams can land and / or spend the night. But that ultimately meant fewer overnight stays. Entry requirements also change daily, and each country had its own rules, and there was the reality of no-entry zones. “We can see a little light on the horizon, but it’s still difficult.

The importance of accurate and up-to-date information that can be passed on to medical partners is itself already a priority but has increased during the pandemic. There were also higher requirements, such as height and weight, to consider with PMIUs.

Questions and answers from the audience

Lee reiterated this central point: Are we in a place of minimum standards? The panel, for the most part, agreed that it was extremely difficult to assert global requirements, but that best practices could be disseminated.

The questions included the basis for all standards, and if we really have enough evidence to create this standard, and on what? Dr Vanya Gant, who also gave the opening address for ITIC, said the discussion risked confusing several issues: “I will say this once: there is more than enough evidence to write guidelines. firm to prevent transmission. “

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