China to Los Angeles in 144 Hours: Behind the Scenes
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!