Every day people are transported in air ambulances for both emergency and non-emergency reasons. Often a medical flight is simply a way to transport a patient from one medical facility to another, perhaps in a different state or even country. Perhaps a patient needs the attention of a physician trained in a medical specialty that is not available where they live. On the other hand, medical flights are also used for patients who are critically ill and whose very life depends on being transported from a rural hospital to a life-saving trauma center — even though it may be several hundred miles away.
Even though the reasons for the medical flights may vary, whenever someone needs air transportation for medical reasons the plane should be properly equipped with the right medical flight equipment as well as properly trained medical personnel.
But how do you go about choosing an air ambulance service? You might start by looking at the reputations of several different services. Companies with outstanding reputations will always have modern airplanes, skilled professional medical personnel, and up-to-date life saving medical equipment on board every flight.
Let’s focus first of all on the medical personnel who are on board. A good air medical service should come with a skilled team of qualified medical personnel, including doctors, paramedics and nurses. Realizing that emergencies may take place during the flight, these professionals are in charge of the patient’s well being every step along the way. They should have all of the required certifications for safe medical air transport. In addition, they should regularly attend certified educational courses in order to keep current with the latest procedures in this highly specialized field.
Even though the majority of medical flights may not be for true medical emergencies, the planes should be up-to-date, the staff fully trained, and the medical flight equipment the most modern available.
After all, each flight presents a patient with unique needs. Some patients may only need to be kept warm and comfortable during their flight. Others, however, may require life saving equipment to be pressed into service while they are in the air.
What type of aircraft is best suited for medical transportation? It really depends on the location and duration of the flight. Many air ambulance services use small jets, such as Lear jets. But turboprop and twin engine airplanes can also be used quite adequately.
Before an assignment of aircraft is made, a trained coordinator should make the determination based upon the distance of the flight, the size of the nearest airport, and his or her knowledge of the city of destination. The goal is to arrive at the final destination with as little stress and disturbance to the patient as possible. It is important that the company you choose has the right medical equipment to best fill the needs of each patient.