Back in June we wrote a blog: Reclining Seats Cause Air Rage? What Does This Mean for Air Medical Escorts? Well, what kind of air rage do you think would ensue if airplanes had standing room only? Sounds like a nightmare to us!
We recently came across an article about Airbus' patent for a standing only "seats." The seats are basically like bicycle seats with belts . . . OUCH! The argument behind these seats is that, 1) the airlines can accommodate more passengers, hence lowering the cost of air travel, and 2) better lumbar support. We will admit that it certainly would provide better lumbar support and would help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT); however, any trip longer than an hour would be incredibly uncomfortable and would probably turn passengers away from air travel.
Air travel is uncomfortable enough as it is without taking away padding, arm rests, and the slight recline. And from a medical transportation point of view, these "seats" would pose huge problems. When transporting a patient via commercial air, our medical professionals make it their number priority that the patient is safe and comfortable. For someone who is ill these seats would be incredibly uncomfortable for any extended period of time. For someone who has not sat up right in months or has not been out of the hospital wouldn't even be able to fly on one of these aircrafts. In fact, we recently escorted a patient from China to Los Angeles, who would have been physically unable to travel on a commercial airline in these seats.
Anytime we are transporting a patient via commercial air we try our best to get first class seating, but sometimes it isn't an option due to the patients schedule, the airline, and the length of the trip. However, in every circumstance we do everything in our power to ensure that the patient is comfortable and safe while traveling. Hopefully these seat changes will not go through, but if they do, MedFlight911 has got you covered.
For first-class medical transportation, MedFlight911 is the best! Call us at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.
Last month we talked about being Fit to Fly and Flying With Communicable Diseases. Just after those blogs were published, media coverage about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the possibly of it spreading into the states increased. In case you haven't been following recent news reports, there have been over 3700 confirmed cases of Ebola in 2014, most specifically in the countries of Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Recently, there were three Americans infected with Ebola while performing humanitarian work in West Africa. The three patients were medically transported back to the United States via specialized air ambulance for medical treatment in the first week of August.
Even though all necessary safety measures were taken during the medical transport and the three patients were quarantined in Serious Communicable Disease Units the thought of Ebola entering the US caused panic. These concerns proved to be unfounded as not a single new case of Ebola occurred as a result of their transport. In fact, there has yet to be a case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. and the initial two patients was discharged with a clean bill of health last week.
We wanted to write this blog to offer some more information on Ebola to hopefully decrease concerns. After all, knowledge is power!
What you need to know about Ebola:
1. The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids. It can also be transmitted via contaminated needles or infected fluids, but no airborne transmissions have been documented. The incubation period of Ebola is 2-21 days and there is no risk of transmission during that period.
2. Airlines have been screening passengers leaving West Africa for Ebola before they can board the plane. There are also some airports screening incoming passengers.
Symptoms include fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and in some cases, bleeding.
4. There have been more than 3,600 reported human cases and more than 2,200 deaths since the discovery of Ebola in 1976. In comparison, approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die from the flu each year.
You should avoid:
If you have been exposed to any of the previous or you have traveled to the affected areas and are experiencing symptoms, you should contact your health care professional immediately. While 'Ebola' and 'outbreak' are two words you never want to hear in the same sentence, the CDC, the WHO and other organizations are working diligently to stop the spread in and out-of West Africa. Just yesterday, the Gates Foundation pledged $50 million towards the fight on Ebola outbreak. And, while there have been multiple reports of suspected cases in the U.S. since the recent outbreak, Ebola has never been diagnosed on U.S. soil.
No matter where or when you are traveling, make sure you take precautions to stay healthy: wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with people who are visibly ill, take your vitamins, and stay hydrated!
For more travel safety tips or if you are in need of medical transport, visit our website or give us a call at 888-359-1911. You can also get your a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.
Here at MedFlight911, we see a lot of very sad situations. Some of the saddest are those situations where children are involved. All of our staff is trained to provide the utmost care to all of our patients, but when children are involved it is very beneficial to have other professionals on our team that are trained to help children through traumatic situations. In one of our recent transfers, we worked with a wonderful pediatric social worker who not only helped the children and the family, but was a great help to us as well.
The family was on vacation with multiple children when their mother was injured in an accident and declared brain dead. The children were very traumatized by the accident and their mother's future prospects so Jennifer Clark, a pediatric social worker, was asked to be involved in their situation. The mother and the family needed transport to a hospice facility near their home and Jennifer helped them arrange it. She was familiar with air ambulance transport from a previous job working with child burn victims. Jennifer contacted Grace on Wings, a charity air ambulance company, and they referred her to MedFlight911.
Originally, the family wanted an air ambulance, but the quotes were too expensive for them. MedFlight911 discussed the option of a medical motor coach, which was substantially less, so they decided to go that route instead. We were able to arrange for transport for the next day.
Typically, MedFlight911 has all of the necessary equipment for a medical transport; however, in this case, the patient needed a special medication pump. "They borrowed the pump from the hospital and returned it the very next day," Jennifer Clark said. "I was so surprised and impressed!"
Once the transport was complete and the family made it safely to their destination, we called Jennifer to ask her about her experience in working with MedFlight911: "Dee [McCluskey] was absolutely fantastic. He was so easy to work with and gave great information and follow-ups. My favorite thing about him was that he called with updates from the road. He called twice at different points to let me know where they were and then he called when they reached their final destination to let me know where they were home. Working with MedFlight911 was truly a wonderful experience."
One of our top priorities as a medical transportation company is to provide the highest quality medical services with utmost care and compassion for everyone involved. It is always wonderful to work with someone who shares the same goals. It was truly a pleasure to work with Jennifer Clark in this saddening situation.
MedFlight911 is so passionate about providing the best care, especially is difficult situations. Call us at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation medical transport quote here.
MedFlight911 conducts many different types of medical transportation – air ambulance, medical escorts, and motor coach transportation, to name a few. Each transport and each patient is very unique and is treated as such.
One of our most recent medical transports was for a husband and wife from Mesa, Arizona to Minnesota. The couple is in their 80's; the wife has Alzheimer's and the husband is very frail. The two are snowbirds and were staying in an assisted living facility during their vacation in Arizona.
Earlier this year their daughter and their neighbor tried to arrange for transport for the couple because it was unsafe for them to drive the long distance home to Minnesota. They had no idea that something like MedFlight911 even existed until they did an online search, yet it was "exactly what they needed."
There were several starts and stops in scheduling the trip. It was very difficult for their family and friends to find an assisted living facility in Minnesota that could provide space and care for both of the clients at the same time. We worked with the family and friends closely and we got their medical transport scheduled last month.
With the help of their family, MedFlight911 set up transport for the couple via motor coach. During the planning stages, we realized that the couple has more possessions than would fit in the underbelly of the coach, so MedFlight911 arranged for a U-Haul and delivered it to the client's house the night before the transfer. "It just goes to show how much MedFlight911 cares and how far they will go to make their clients happy," theirneighbor said. "They even helped load a few things in the morning!" Once the U-Haul was loaded, it was time to begin traveling.
A normal road trip from Arizona to Minnesota is about a 27-hour drive, but because all passengers must be seated while the vehicle is in motion, the driver must pull over and come to a complete stop when anyone needs to use the restroom. We try to coordinate bathroom breaks with fuel stops, but even with careful scheduling, this can add hours to any given trip. Due to bladder issues, this trip took about an additional six hours, which is a long time for patients. Our goal in these kinds of situations is to make the transport less stressful. The husband sat in the captain's seat and navigated for the driver. His wife had several episodes of confusion and was calmed down by the nurse. The nurses on board were focused on keeping the couple calm, relaxed, and pre-occupied, and the driver was focused on transporting the couple safely to their destination.
The couple arrived at their destination and were very grateful for the helpful staff that got them their. Their neighbor said, "I only have good things to say about MedFlight911. I was impressed with the company and the logistics of what they organized. It was exactly what we needed at the time." No matter what the situation, our staff is highly trained in caring for each patient and we take utmost care to ensure that their transport is as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
Several months ago, we wrote a blog on what fit to fly means and how doctors determine if a patient is or is not fit to fly with MedFlight911. We transport a lot of patients who are seriously ill or injured and sometimes, the doctor may deem them unfit to fly until a certain point. But what do commercial fliers need to know about flying with illness? Last week, we discussed the precautions that travelers with flying with communicable diseases need to take. Did you know that there are other illnesses that can restrict your travel? Read on to find out more!
The Air Carrier Access Act or 1986 has enabled more and more people with disabilities or illnesses to travel via commercial air. However, it is the person's responsibility to contact their practitioner for guidance on safety during air travel. For example, people with respiratory, cardiac, or postsurgical conditions or those with diabetes or ear conditions, require unique attention, tests, and/or instructions from their practitioner to make flying safer. In some of those cases a practitioner may deem the patient unfit to fly, but in many cases it's perfectly safe with the right equipment and practices (i.e., oxygen, staying hydrated, walking around the plane, and so on). Part of flying safely is knowing when you should postpone air travel.
When should you postpone your trip?
Of course, the most obvious reason to postpone your trip is if your doctor advises you to do so. But there are other times when you should postpone air travel, including:
If you are unsure whether or not you should be flying with your condition, it is important to talk to your medical care provider. Your doctor may want you to use oxygen during your flight, walk around the plane, take certain medications, or bring other medical equipment on board with you. Keep in mind, even on short, commercial flights, medical care and equipment aren't readily available.
When do you need an air medical escort?
Often times a physician will not diagnosis a patient as "fit to fly" unless they will be cared for by another medical professional. If a patient is unable to perform tasks associated with air travel and needs medical assistance or surveillance, you will want to consider getting an air medical escort. An air medical escort will escort the passenger from their home (or wherever they wish to be picked up) to his or her destination while providing constant medical attention to the patient. The escort helps the passenger with their luggage and medical supplies and helps them get through the airport. The escort ensures that the patient boards and exits the plane safely and that the patient is safe and comfortable during the entire trip. Many times, if a family member cannot travel with the patient or the patient needs extra medical attention, the patient or their family will hire an escort to transport the patient.
Most importantly, an air medical escort is a trained aviation expert who can navigate the complexities of both airline travel and a patient's medical condition ensuring both the patient's comfort and their safety while traveling. If you have any medical conditions that might make air travel dangerous, please consult your health care professional before your trip.
MedFlight911 is passionate about getting our patients safely to their destinations and if you ever find yourself in need of an air medical escort, give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air ambulance quote here.
July 28th was World Hepatitis Day. This holiday brought up the question - how do we handle flying with patients with communicable diseases? Over the years we, at MedFlight911, have transported many patients with communicable diseases. We take the extra precautions necessary to ensure the patients health and safety, and to protect the crew from illness, while treating all of our patients with dignity and respect.
If you are someone with a communicable disease, there are a few things you need to know about commercial and medical air travel.
Medical air transportation
Flying with communicable diseases puts the people around you at risk for becoming ill. Air is trapped and re-circulates in the cabin, creating an amazing environment for airborne illnesses to spread. When transporting any patient, we evaluate them carefully to ensure they are safe to travel. When we transport a patient with a communicable disease, we take precautions to ensure that the flight crew is protected from the illness. We also contact the receiving facility to make certain they are aware of the situation so they can take appropriate steps to decrease the risk of spreading the disease, including possibly placing the incoming patient in isolation.
Commercial air travel
Public transportation is one of the easiest ways to spread communicable diseases. If you have a trip planned and become ill with a communicable disease, you should postpone your trip until you are no longer contagious or exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
If you become sick shortly after a commercial flight, public health authorities will want to know. They will typically get the contact information of all the passengers on your flight(s) and inform them about the exposure and offer them intervention or treatment.
Communicable diseases that you should not fly with include, but are not limited to:
What can you do to prevent the spread of disease
If you travel by air often or you are planning an upcoming trip there are a few precautions you can take to minimize your risk of getting a communicable disease:
Immune system compromised patients/passengers
Patients/passengers with compromised immune systems must weigh the significant risks when traveling via commercial airline.
If you become sick with a communicable disease, we urge you to seek medical attention immediately and do not to travel via commercial air. If you are in need of medical transport and you have a communicable disease, contact us. You are in great hands with MedFlight911!
Want to know more about traveling with communicable diseases? Give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.
Last week we talked about what happens if your ground transportation or air medical escort trip gets canceled. This week we're going to discuss what happens if your air ambulance trip gets canceled or postponed. When working in the medical field, issues arise and plans change. We understand how delicate medical transportation can be, which is why we approach every situation with a focus on our patient's needs and flexibility.
Typically an air ambulance trip is arranged several hours to several days ahead of time. We work within a "window of movement" and airplane availability to plan and execute every medical transport that comes our way. We do our very best to ensure that the plane and crew are where they're supposed to be and on time, however, sometimes things come up that are out of our control.
Reasons for cancellation or postponement of an air ambulance trip
Delays don't happen often, but when they do they can cause the loss of an aircraft for that trip until the next time slot is available. Other times we have to postpone or cancel a trip because the facility that we are transporting the patient to doesn't have a bed available at that time or the patient is not fit to travel. Less commonly we have to postpone or cancel an air ambulance trip due to poor weather conditions, political unrest (this happens more with international air ambulances), airport closures, airplane issue or crew issues, or sadly patient death. In the case of a delay or postponement, the patient's family are only liable of our administrative costs for arranging that trip. These costs are very reasonable.
What happens if you cancel your air ambulance trip?
A patient's family can cancel an air ambulance at no extra cost, other than administrative fees, up until the plane starts moving. However, once an airplane is heading to the patient, the family is liable for the expenses incurred up to the entire cost of the trip – plane, crew, gas, equipment, and so on. In addition, if a plane has been held overnight at a location due to a change in patient status, the family can be held liable for any and all additional crew or aircraft costs.
Anytime an air ambulance trip is canceled, MedFlight911 works closely with the patient and/or their family to ensure that the problem gets resolved quickly. We know that these situations are stressful and we do everything possible to make the process as smooth as possible.
MedFligth911 treats all of our patients and medical transports with the utmost care, even in the event of postponement or cancelations. For more information, call us at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air ambulance quote here.
When working in the medical field (in any capacity) things come up and plans change. Here at MedFlight911 we understand how delicate medical transportation can be, which is why we treat it with the utmost care and flexibility.
Sometimes, after a trip is scheduled, we come across roadblocks – a facility doesn't have a bed, the patient is too sick to travel, bad weather, political unrest (this is more common with international air ambulances and is infrequent), airport closures, mechanical issues or crew issues, or sadly patient death – that cause postponement or cancellation of a medical transport. In all of these cases we work closely with the patient or their family until the issue is resolved. We often receive questions about how we plan a medical transport and what happens if the trip needs to be canceled or postponed. The answer is it varies by patient needs and the type of transport.
After we are contacted and contracted for transport we immediately start making arrangements. When we are contracted for ground transport, we must identify the closest and most appropriate crew and medical motor coach. Generally, once the trip is set, this can be canceled up to 24 hours ahead of time (without any fees) as long as the medical motor coach is not making its way to the patient. However, if the coach is moving towards the patient, the patient is responsible for covering the costs incurred if they need to cancel. If the coach is not already in route, the patient is only liable for the administrative costs (which are very reasonable).
Whenever possible we try to arrange ground transport trips to be linked to another – Phoenix to LA and then another trip from San Diego to Washington, for example – which reduces costs. Unfortunately, if a trip is postponed and can no longer be linked, then the cost savings are lost on the rescheduled trip.
Air medical escort
With an air medical escort, once the family has confirmed they are working with MedFlight911, we will begin working with the airline's medical department and assign an escort to the patient. We make all the airline arrangements for the patient and the escort and receive a quote and a travel itinerary from the airline. We work very quickly to get the information to the patient and/or family, however, if they wait too long to decide on the itinerary, the costs are likely to change (just like a normal plane ticket). 85% of the costs for air medical escort are airline related, the remaining 15% are administrative.
MedFlight911 always purchases trip insurance to cover the possibility of postponement or cancellation. However, when a trip is postponed or canceled, it can take several weeks for the airline to reimburse the patient. We quickly submit medical paperwork to the airline demonstrating why the flight needed to be changed and then wait for the insurance company to issue the reimbursement. In the meantime, new tickets may need to be purchased and the patient or family is responsible for covering that cost.
While postponement or cancellation of a medical transport does not happen too often, it does happen. At MedFlight911 we try to make these changes as smooth and easy for you as possible and resolve the issues in a timely fashion.
Check back next week to find out what happens when an air ambulance trip is canceled or postponed!
When you need a medical transport, you need someone you can trust! Give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.
You may or may not know that Prince William (yes, Kate Middleton's husband) is an experienced pilot and according to a recent article in People, is considering taking to the skies as an air ambulance pilot. Of course, you don't have to be royalty to fly an air ambulance, but you do need to be a special kind of pilot.
So, who can fly air ambulances (other than the Duke of Cambridge)? Well, MedFlight911 is very thorough in our vetting process to ensure that we have only the best pilots transporting our precious cargo – our patients. They must be experienced pilots who are accustomed to flying into different locations, scenarios, and in emergencies. To keep our pilots alert, they typically travel in pairs because they can only fly ten hours in a duty day.
Qualifications for an air ambulance pilot often include the following characteristics:
Basically, you have to be an experienced pilot (usually with 3,000 or more flight hours) to qualify and get hired. Not all pilots can fly every type of plane. A pilot will be "type rated" for a specific type of aircraft; effectively, the same pilot will not fly helicopters and Cessnas. These positions are very competitive and difficult to come by –although it probably won't be too difficult for Prince William to land a job.
Even though they are aboard an air ambulance, air ambulance pilots are not required to receive any medical training. Their responsibility is to the aircraft and to the safety of everyone involved. There should be no difference in transporting a sick passenger versus a healthy one because the crew is handing the passenger while the pilot is handling the plane.
So, as you can see, MedFlight911 and other air ambulance companies do not take the hiring process lightly. Being an air ambulance pilot is serious business and it takes a highly competent, highly qualified person to do it. If you are looking for air medical transportation, MedFlight911 has a great team of medical professionals and air ambulance pilots to get you, or your loved one, safely to your destination. And, keep in mind, if you ever get injured in the UK, the future King just might be your pilot.
We may not be royalty, but we will treat you like you are! Call us at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.
When you are sitting on a plane (or in a car) for long periods of time not only can it be uncomfortable, but can be bad for your health. A few weeks ago we discussed the importance of shifting our patients' weight (from the left side to the right) regularly during medical transport to relieve discomfort and increase circulation. Well, we also do this to prevent a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
DVT is when a blood clot forms deep in the body, typically in your legs. DVT can be painful, but sometimes comes with no symptoms. It is a serious health risk because the clot can break off and travel through the blood stream. The clot can travel to the lungs and block blood flow, causing a condition known as pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT is most commonly caused by long periods of inactivity (like on international flights or long distance medical transport).
There are certain people who are at higher risk for developing DVT: those who have had a DVT before; people who have certain heart diseases, cancer, or a blood clotting disorder; pregnant women; smokers; people who are obese; women on birth control; older patients; and patients who have recently experiences trauma or undergone surgery. If you have one of these risk factors you should consult a doctor before taking a long trip in the car or on a plane.
If you are like the 69% of Americans that travel over the summer, chances are you will be flying or driving to your favorite vacation destinations this summer. Whether you are at high risk or not, here are 3 things you should do to prevent DVT when on a long flight or road trip.
1. Get moving – If you are sitting on a plane or in the car for more than two hours, you should get up and walk around at least once every hour. It may take you a little longer to get to your destination by car, but we promise it's worth the time! If you are at high risk, you should stay standing for 5-10 minutes, stretch, and do light leg exercises (if possible). If you are traveling with someone who is immobile you can help him or her by massaging and stretching their legs, helping them with ankle rolls, and shifting them from side to side. We reposition our patients on medical motor coaches during every refueling break and encourage them to walk the cabinet while we are stoppped.
2. Stay hydrated – Staying hydrated promotes healthy blood flow. It can be difficult to stay hydrated while you are flying or driving, but since you'll be getting up every hour anyways, you can take advantage of the pit stops.
3. Obey doctor's orders – If you are at high risk, your doctor may prescribe a blood thinner or tell you to take an over the counter medication. He or she may also advise you to where compression socks or stockings. Make sure you take the medication as prescribed and put on your stockings before boarding the plane or hopping in the car. You should also wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoid alcohol and sleeping pills, and do anti-DVT exercises: Raise and lower your heels while keeping your toes on the floor. Repeat 10 times. Then, raise and lower your toes while keeping your heels on the floor. Repeat 10 times. Do this at least every half hour.
DVT is a serious condition and can be prevented with these three easy steps. During all of our medical transports we do everything we can to prevent DVT in our patients and by doing these three things you can too. Whether you're traveling in the car or on a plane this summer, make sure you travel safely!
For more travel safety tips or if you are in need of medical transport, visit our website or give us a call at 888-359-1911. You can also get your a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.