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 MedFligth911!
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.
When you jet off for your much-deserved beach vacation, you're probably thinking about all the fun and relaxing you're going to do—not the chance that you might need an air ambulance. That's likely what was in the mind of a recent MedFlight911 patient, when she headed off to spend the holidays—and her birthday—in the Caribbean.
The French tourist was having a great time in the Caribbean—she even went diving on her birthday. That's where things took an unfortunate turn. While on her dive, she went too deep for too long and came up too fast, which caused her to develop decompression sickness, also known as "the bends." She received treatment at a hospital on the island, but they weren't able to fully treat her condition. She needed to be in a special type of hyperbaric chamber, and the closest facility that would be able to help her was in Miami. Of course, the decompression sickness meant that a commercial flight was out of the question.
She'd need an air ambulance to get to Florida. That's when her insurance company called MedFlight911. The MedFlight911 team conferred with the patient's insurer and organized all the details of the air medical transport. The patient, however, wasn't quite ready call it quits on her vacation—she actually put off our departure because she wanted to spend more time enjoying the island sights. Her insurance company let her know that she could stay—but that they wouldn't be able to continue to pay for her care or her worldwide air ambulance flight out of the country. The patient quickly agreed it was time to end her vacation.
Our air ambulance team got in touch with the patient, and we were able to arrange a time to pick her up at the airport in the Caribbean. Because of her decompression sickness, we had to take extra steps to keep her safe and healthy during her international air ambulance flight to Florida, including pressurizing the cabin and flying lower than we normally would to prevent problems.
The air ambulance flight from the Caribbean to Miami came off without a hitch. The patient was easy to work with and grateful for our help. After the four-hour journey, we landed in Florida and the patient moved on to the hospital that had the special hyperbaric chamber that would help her recover from her condition and eventually get back to her home in France. And as always, the MedFlight911 team was happy that we were able to help her on her way!
We recently read an article in The New Zealand Herald that really caught our attention: UK airline scraps reclining seats to stop air rage. Air rage? Is there such a thing? And, could simply reclining your seat cause it? The article states that 60 per cent of cabin crews have witnessed arguments sparked by lowering the seat-back - and nine out of ten passengers think reclining seats should be banned on short-haul flights.
The more we thought about it the more we realized that reclining seats could cause a comfort problem for other passengers. But, what does getting rid of reclining seats mean for air medical transportation?
Reclining seats are a must for almost all air medical escorts, especially in the cases where the patient cannot sit fully erect. For example, during one of our most recent commercial medical escorts, from China to Los Angeles, the patient had been severely injured in a motorcycle accident and had not sat upright in 7 months. During the first leg of the trip the patient had to sit in business class in a normal reclining seat that put him at about a 45-degree angle. Though there was more "room" than coach, it was much less than we were normally accustomed to. Without that seat recline he would have been much more uncomfortable and anxious than he already was. Luckily, during the longest leg of the trip we were able to get the patient in first class where he could recline fully. In all cases we do everything in our power to seat the patients and their family (if feasible) in first-class. First-class offers more accessibility and comfort for the patient.
Not only are reclining seats important for the patients, they're also important for the escorts as well. When someone hires an air medical escort from MedFlight911, we take on the responsibility of choosing a seat that best fits the needs of that individual patient and their family. Whenever possible we choose first-class due to the extra space available for the patient to be comfortable and the escort to more easily move around and provide care. Being in first-class also offers much more privacy and allows the commercial medical escort to be closer to the flight attendants. Also, the wider seats increase the air medical escort's ability to position the patient in multiple positions, like weighted right or left. This reduces pressure and helps diminish the possibility of irritating existing bed sores and the possibility of developing a "DVT" (Deep vein thrombosis) during long flights.
Some airlines like JetBlue provide lie-flat seats on some of their long-distance domestic flights. This is a huge help for our patients like the gentleman injured in China. Creating a more comfortable seating position for the patient also minimizes stress related to the medical transport.
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.
As a worldwide air ambulance and medical transport company we take great pride in providing top-notch medical services to all of our patients. MedFlight911 sees a wide variety of patients. Some have insurance, some do not, some are flying internationally, some just a state away. Not only do we provide services for families and insurance companies, we also serve government employees. When working with government agencies there is a higher level of oversight, red tape, and paperwork than with insurance agencies. However, because we provide such meticulous care to our patients, we don't have to change anything we do to satisfy the government agencies; we have always gone above and beyond to meet your needs!
MedFlight911 has provided both commercial medical escorts and air ambulance care to government employees, helping them transfer from their homes to their "distance medical center" where they can receive necessary treatments. Some of these employees have been injured overseas and brought (by the government) back to the states for medical care.
For example, we had a patient who was severely injured in the Middle East. The patient received care overseas and once stable, was transported back to the U.S. MedFlight911 was contacted to transport the patient from their home to a medical center for a crucial surgery. Once the surgery was completed and the patient was safe to travel, MedFligth911 transported the patient back home. It's always an honor to care for a government employee and something we don't take lightly.
The government is one of the largest employers in the U.S. employing over 21.9 million people in 2012. In additional to working with families, individuals, and insurance companies, being able to provide excellent, competent medical care for government employees is very important to us and something we are very proud of. No matter who you are, what you do, or what medical services you need, it is our goal to provide every patient with the best medical transport services.
If you are a government employee or agency and need medical transport, give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air medical transport quote here.
Last week we talked about one of our most recent air medical escort trips from China to Los Angeles in 144 hours. This week, we are going to be hearing from the nurse, Kevin, who made it all possible.
We contacted Kevin on a Monday and confirmed his availability for this long distance medical transport. Working on the limited time frame, he flew to China on Wednesday (Thursday in China). Once he arrived in Guangzhou, he met the patient and his family at the hospital and immediately began coordinating the trip home.
Kevin was able to spend some time at the hospital that the patient was staying in. He was extremely impressed by the care the wife had provided. "She had repositioned her husband every two hours for the last several months. His skin looked remarkable and clear of breakdowns," Kevin told us. He also attended a PT session with the patient and was impressed by how clean the PT facility was. "The equipment was older, but completely competent," he said. He also got to see an acupuncture/massage therapy session. He remarked, "You wouldn't see this in the U.S., but the family credits it with helping the patient regain some movement in his fingers." Kevin was fascinated with the mixture of Eastern and Western medicine that the family was using.
Although his time in China was short, Kevin was able to experience some of the Chinese culture. Kevin also told us that he was very intrigued and amazed by the food he had while he was in China. "While I was there, the patients daughter took me to dinner at an amazing restaurant where you got to choose your dinner out of the big aquarium. It was so neat and once the food came out it was unlike any seafood I've ever had. It didn't taste fishy like most fish." He told us that he enjoyed a variety of different foods he was able to try during his short trip. "I'd go back just to eat!" he exclaimed.
After Kevin's whirlwind stay in China, getting to know the patient and trying some delicious Chinese fare, it was time to get the patient home. On Saturday morning Kevin helped the daughter transfer the patient from his bed to a gurney for the ride to the airport. Once they arrived at the airport, they transferred the patient to his wheelchair, then to an aisle wide wheel chair and boarded the plane early. "I always like to board early to check out the layout of the plane, find the location of the emergency medial equipment, and talk with the flight attendants." Kevin said, "Airplanes appreciate air medical escorts providing care on the flights."
During the first leg of the trip, China to Tokyo, the patient had to sit at a 45-degree angle; something he had not done since before his accident. Kevin told us, "He was really nervous about sitting upright after 7 months. We worked a lot on comforting and calming him during that flight." However, on the next flight from Tokyo to California, the patient, his wife, and Kevin sat in first class where the seats reclined into a bed, making the patient very comfortable. Even though his daughter sat in coach, the airline was kind enough to allow her to come into first class to be with her family.
"The majority of the flight was spent adjusting the patient and making certain he was comfortable," Kevin said. "He really enjoyed first-class! He ate the entire time!" Once on the ground the patient was transferred again from his seat into an aisle width wheelchair, into his wheelchair once off the plane, taken through immigration and security, and transferred into a van for travel to a local hospital.
Kevin was in and out of China in about 60 hours and was able to provide impeccable care to the patient and his family. At MedFlight911 we are passionate about providing excellent medical transportation and making sure that the patient's experience is as comfortable, calm, and pleasant as possible. We thank Kevin and all of our incredible nurses and staff for their continued dedication to our mission!
When it comes to international travel and long distance medical transports, time and advanced planning is generally required. VISA requirements can be complicated as can transportation arrangements in foreign countries. Language barriers are common and medical care varies in different countries. Recently, MedFlight911 was contacted by a family who needed help and time was a major, and limiting, factor. In fact, since airline tickets had already been purchased, we were only given 5 days warning on this long distance medical transport! Fortunately, we were able to help this family and return their loved one to the states.
On a Monday morning we were contacted about a long distance medical transport from Guangzhou, China to Los Angeles, California. The family of the patient had already purchased their airline tickets for that Saturday when the daughter decided that they needed an air medical escort for her father who has been badly injured in an automobile accident. When she called other air ambulance providers, she received both huge price quotes and concerns about the limited planning time. When she contacted MedFlight911, we were able to help. And thus began a remarkable journey.
During his trip to China, our patient was involved in a motorcycle taxi accident. When his taxi was cut off, it flipped over and the patient flew through the air and landed on his back. The only thing that saved him from serious head trauma was his laptop in his backpack. However, he did experience a C5 fracture and was left paralyzed from the chest down. After receiving a cervical fusion, he now has shrug capabilities and can swallow and breathe independently, but requires assistance for all other activities of daily living. The patient received care at a local hospital until the family's funds were depleted. With their options and finances dwindling, the family rented a hospital room where the patient's wife provided 24-hour care for him for several months. Once resources were set up in the U.S., the family needed to move the patient back home.
There was a very limited amount of time between the family's call to MedFlight911 and the date they needed medical transport, so we had to act fast! The patient did not need advanced air ambulance services; instead he needed an air medical escort to ensure safe and comfortable travel. The only obstacle was that in order to depart from a plane in China, a U.S. citizen is required to obtain a VISA 90 days prior to travel. Fortunately, MedFlight911 employs an international passport holder, which allows him 72 hours on the ground in China before a VISA is required. (Amazingly, our nurse was into and out of China in only 60 hours!)
Monday: MedFlight911 was contacted
Tuesday: We purchased the air medical escort's ticket to China
Wednesday: The nurse flew into China
Friday: The nurse arrived in China and met the family at the hospital
Saturday: The nurse flew out of China at 9:10 am and landed safely in the U.S with the patient at 9:10 am Saturday.