From Brazil to the United States: Managing the Logistics of a Worldwide Air Ambulance Flight
When it comes to an international long distance air ambulance transport, few people realize how complicated such a trip can be. Take a transport from Brazil to the United States that the MedFlight911 team recently completed. We saw firsthand the difficulty that can arise from differences between how the U.S. and Brazil regulate private aircraft.
First, some information about the transport: I had received a call from a Florida man who needed to arrange a medical transport for his elderly father. His dad was a Brazilian national who had fallen and broken his neck, paralyzing him from the neck down. At the time, the father was living in a small city north of Rio de Janeiro. Our job would be to transport him to the U.S., where he could be close to his family so they could oversee his medical care.
The journey from the U.S. to Brazil was 10 hours each way, including a stop in Puerto Rico. Instead of flying into one of the Brazil’s major cities, like Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo, we'd be landing in a small town whose only airport was actually a military installation. The facility was so small that fuel for our plane had to be trucked in from offsite. To further complicate matters, flying a private plane into Brazil can sometimes present challenges because of the way flights are regulated. As a result, we experienced some difficulty when we first landed there.
The Brazilian officials requested various documents and had some questions about whether or not the paperwork showing that our aircraft was safe to fly was current. Of course, everything was up to date (we'd never fly a plane that wasn't airworthy), but we still had to get a letter from an FAA office in Washington before we were allowed to proceed. Fortunately, it only took an hour to get the required documentation and get on our way.
In most cases, that hour wouldn't be a significant delay, but it matters a lot when you're dealing with an elderly man in very poor health. As we waited to get the all-clear from the Brazilian officials, the patient started to suffer from breathing difficulties. Ultimately, the crew had to contact his family and get the OK to insert a breathing tube while in flight. Fortunately, the MedFlight911 advanced air ambulance team was able to complete the procedure without any problems and get the patient safely to the receiving facility in Florida.
Worldwide air ambulance flights aren't always predictable, but our experienced team of pilots and medical professionals is always able to find a solution to any problems they encounter. That was certainly the case for this transport. Fortunately, everything came together and we got the patient to where he needed to be – which is always our highest priority!
To find out more about MedFlight911's advanced air ambulance services give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation long distance air ambulance transport quote here.