Air Medical Transport: Everything You Need To Know
The time it takes to access medical attention from the time an incident takes place or the symptoms of an illness start to check in can be critical in determining whether the person recovers or not. But getting to the hospital is not always as smooth as it ought to be what with certain areas being remote and inaccessible by road or the possibility of an ordinary ambulance encountering a heavy traffic jam on the way to the hospital. This is where air ambulances are more appropriate.
Air medical transport is usually used where the infrastructure for the more commonly used forms of transport such as road and rail is nonexistent or virtually unusable. Alternatively, you might have the infrastructure being in excellent condition but because the person needs medical attention virtually immediately, then air medical transport becomes the fastest means to move him or her to the hospital
Air ambulances are often equipped with various types of medication including medicine, monitoring units, stretchers, CPR equipment and ventilators. The type of equipment will vary from one air ambulance service to another but the overall intention is usually to ensure that the patient can receive emergency medical treatment in order to stabilize their condition before they get to the hospital. This should be one of the most important aspects you should look at before you choose an air medical transport company to use.
But how did air ambulances start? Air medical transport started among military teams when they used aircraft to transport injured soldiers back to their camps for treatment. More specifically, this form of transport for wounded and ill soldiers was first used in 1870 to transport injured French soldiers using a hot air balloon during the Siege of Paris. However, it was not until the First World War when aeroplanes had started to become a more commonly used weapon of war that the use of air ambulances started to gain ground.
During this time Germany, which had one of the fleets at the time, used air medical transport to evacuate soldiers wounded in the battle front lines back to Germany. The US military forces also greatly relied on air transport to move injured soldiers from danger zones to safer grounds during the Korean and Vietnam War. From those early days, the tendency to use air medical transport has become so ingrained in militaries across the world. Only recently, the US government deployed several helicopters to Iraq to act as air ambulances. The efficiency of air ambulances in medical services soon transitioned into the civilian medical services arena.
As you would expect from any service industry, not all air medical transport service providers are the same or provide the same level of quality or service. So there are things you need to consider when choosing the air ambulance that is most suitable for you. First, check if the firm is properly registered and licensed. That said, most states in the US do not have strong regulation around air ambulance services. Thus, you may need to gauge the firm against best practice. Go for firms that are well equipped and demonstrate a qualified, trained and skilled staff.
Next, be certain on whether you are negotiating with a broker or the air ambulance firm itself. This is important not only because some brokers are inconsistent and unreliable thus disappointing you when you actually need the service, but it is also important because using a broker can see you paying more to cater for the broker’s commission. It’s always important to go directly to the air ambulance service.