A medical emergency on board a business jet at altitude–and how it is dealt with–presents a defining moment for any flight department. Yet not all are well-prepared, according to emergency planning specialist FrontierMedex,hich gave a briefing here at NBAA yesterday.
Emergency medical responders
AFHSH, the French Association of doctors who use helicopter EMS, has proposed using trained paramedics to satisfy new European rules that will mandate a second crewmember for HEMS operations beginning in October next year. According to the association, the additional cost of a second pilot would be prohibitive for hospitals. Therefore, it proposes training a paramedic for those missions when a “second pair of eyes” is needed in the front seats, but only in VMC.
Canadian air ambulance operator Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, has introduced a new interior for its AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters that allows paramedics to perform CPR “at any time during flight, reduces the risk of tubes snagging on equipment and gives better access to the patient and medical bags and supplies.”
Medical kits are not only a good idea but they are often required equipment to be carried aboard aircraft. MedAire’s new Advanced Aviation Medical Kit meets regulatory mandates while saving space and providing solutions for many critical and common medical events.
FOCUS on…AIR MEDICAL The latest generation of air medical helicopters is meeting with enthusiasm from both pilots and medical crews. An example, at the AgustaWestland exhibit (Booth No. 5602) is the A109SP GrandNew medevac machine operated by Intermountain HealthCare’s Life Flight out of Salt Lake City.
Comlux plans to offer access to remote medical care for passengers on all its charter and managed aircraft. The Swiss aviation services provider recently signed an agreement with MedAire to offer a standard, fleet-wide medical package, including 24/7 access to emergency care doctors, equiping aircraft with on-board medical kits, and aviation medical training for 125 pilots and flight attendants.
Bell 222, Aurora, Ill., Oct. 15, 2008–The Air Angels medical transport helicopter hit a 734-foot-tall radio station tower, killing all four people on board, including the commercial pilot, a flight paramedic, a flight nurse and the patient. The accident occurred at 11:58 p.m. in clear weather. The strobe lights on the tower were working before the helicopter hit, but their electrical wires were severed in the crash.
Bell 407, Sedona, Ariz., Oct. 13, 2008–An Arizona Department of Public Safety paramedic was killed during a search-and-rescue operation on Doe Mountain near Sedona. The helicopter crew had flown from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport to help find two stranded hikers. They spotted the hikers on the mountain, notified the Sedona Fire Department, which had initiated the search, and landed on a large boulder near the hikers.
In the last 10 years, the odds of facing an in-flight medical emergency haven’t changed much, but thanks to the development of aviation telemedicine, the odds of surviving such an event have gone up considerably.