When to Call an Air Ambulance: 4 Situations That Require Air Transport

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An air ambulance is an aircraft used for medical emergencies. This comprises different types of air transportation – including airplanes, cargo jets, and helicopters – primarily used to bring patients to and from medical facilities and accident sites.

This type of medical transport has been around since World War I, where it served as an emergency evacuation method. However, its use has expanded dramatically through the years.

This article discusses the different situations when an air ambulance transport service is necessary in the modern world.

Calling an Air Ambulance: A Foreword

When deciding to request an air ambulance, you need to remember that you should never impulsively do it impulsively.

Aside from the complexity of deployment, emergency medical services (EMS) can only be used during specific situations. There are also certain inherent risks and benefits that should be considered.

In short, it is a decision that must be made not for convenience or comfort’s sake, but to save a life that cannot be accomplished in another way.

4 Medical Situations that Require Air Transport

Several articles highlight the misuse of an air ambulance. Some attribute it to fear or laziness, but these cases are often because of the lack of knowledge of the proper use of such facilities.

To help you avoid this, here are four medical situations that merit air transport:

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  1. Medical Evacuation

Air ambulance services allow emergency medical personnel to take advantage of aerial transport to save lives. Most times, this is the fastest possible way to extract a patient and bring him to the nearest medical facility. 

However, you need to make sure whether the situation truly warrants a medical evacuation by air.

To do so, you need to ask yourself: Does the patient really need extended extraction from their original location?

The answer is yes if:

  • The patient meets rapid transport requirements.
  • Delays can happen because of certain factors (e.g., roadblocks or tight traffic situations and can affect the patient’s condition.

Patients benefit from medical evacuation in case of fire and other disasters as well. Remember the “sick and stuck” rule. If a person is ill and is stuck in a place where land transport isn’t possible, calling an air ambulance is the best possible course of action.

Patients in severe conditions could also benefit from air transport. Here’s a good example of this:

  • Stuck under the dashboard of their vehicle, the patient is cool, pale, and sweating heavily.
  • His pulse is skyrocketing and shows questionable blood pressure.
  1. Time-Sensitive Emergencies

In most situations, transportation by air is faster than road or sea travel. This is also true for emergency medical service vehicles.

Air ambulances travel at a much higher speed compared to ground EMS, allowing the patient’s safe and timely evacuation. However, this will only be beneficial if time is truly a factor for the patient.

Among the clinical emergencies that have been proven to benefit from quick transport to definitive care are:

  • Significant trauma
  • Strokes
  • Heart attack or myocardial infarction

Pregnancy can also be included here. Although commercial escorts can be set up, there are a variety of situations when airlines will not allow it.

The most straightforward way is to book a private air ambulance equipped with the necessary tools and managed by highly trained medical professionals.

Still, it is important that you get the opinion of a maternity clinic or have the patient’s OB-gyne sign off on the transport.

  1. Organ Transportation

Jets designed as an ambulance can also carry organs for transplant. In fact, an air ambulance is the safest and quickest mode of transportation for donated organs to their recipients.

Just imagine: A patient in critical condition who has long been waiting for an organ transplant finally receives news of a donor. Upon extraction, the organ can then be transported promptly through an air ambulance.

In other words, it could mean life or death – literally.

Besides speed, an air ambulance is also equipped with the necessary preservation tools to keep the organ safe for transplant based on the current medical standards. This ensures that the organ is unharmed during transport.

  1. Contagious Cases

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There are also cases when contagious patients need to be transported via air ambulance. Although this presents unique challenges in itself compared to ground transport, the situation may still warrant a call to air EMS provided that standard operating procedures are followed.

In most cases, these involve the use of isolation units to keep the patient and the medical crew away from one another. This will help prevent environmental contamination that could be dangerous to the medical crew. Of course, it still ensures access to the patient in a safe manner.

When NOT to Call an Air Ambulance

It doesn’t matter if you have the money to spare for a medical jet; you shouldn’t arrange for one on a whim. Air ambulances, like ground-based EMS, should only be used for actual medical emergencies and never abused.

That said, if there are situations that merit air transport, there are also certain times when you should hold off on calling this emergency medical service. This way, people who actually need the service can have access to them at a moment’s notice.

So, don’t call an air ambulance if:

  1. You’re panicking.

Fear is one of the most common reasons why an air ambulance is called to the scene even if they’re really not needed.

Sometimes, you may doubt your ability to take care of the patient. When this happens, you may be tempted to use the air ambulance as your panic button.

But fear is never a sound reason to call for air transport EMS. If you’re not sure you can handle traditional transport, it would be better to call for help than keep the air ambulance occupied while an actual air emergency could be happening elsewhere.

  1. The scene has no aircraft access.

Air transport is faster than its ground alternative in many cases, but there are still certain situations when the situation is reversed. Lack of aircraft access is one of them.

If you don’t have access to a landing pad or the aircraft itself cannot arrive on time because of inclement weather, it would be best to opt for land transport.

Handle Emergencies the Right Way

Emergencies that warrant air transport are easy to identify if you know what you’re looking for. Use this article as a guide to make sure you only call an air ambulance when it truly matters.

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