Air Medical Transport: Improving Healthcare Access in Rural America
It may be hard to imagine if you live in a big city or suburban area, but if you become sick or are seriously injured in many parts of the U.S., you might need to rely on an air ambulance to get the treatment you need. As the number of rural hospitals shrinks, many patients who live in underserved areas and need a higher level or more specialized facility for care have no choice but to travel elsewhere for treatment. It's simply part of the new reality of healthcare in America, and it illustrates the critical role that MedFlight911 and other air ambulance services play in the delivery of that care.
Take the story of Sam, an 11-year-old boy living in rural Nebraska. Sam seemed active and healthy, but one day he developed serious shortness of breath during an after-school basketball game. His parents took him to the local hospital in their small town. The doctors there examined Sam, and during an X-ray they saw a large mass on his lung. They knew the situation was serious, and that Sam probably needed treatment right away. But the staff at the local hospital also realized that they simply weren't equipped to provide the kind of care Sam was likely to need. So they recommended that Sam be moved to a children's hospital in Omaha, where they had specialists who could diagnose and care for him.
The case manager at the hospital called us and we explored a range of medical transport options for Sam. Transport by ground medical motor coach wasn’t an appropriate option because it would have taken too long to travel from Sam’s hometown hospital to the children’s hospital in Omaha. Traveling by commercial airline with a medical escort wasn’t an option because we were all concerned that Sam could have significant respiratory distress at any time and the medical escort couldn’t bring the proper equipment aboard the commercial plane to adequately take care of Sam in that situation. So, we all agreed that an air ambulance was the best medical transport option.
An air medical transport was quickly arranged. Sam was in Omaha the next day, where doctors at the hospital diagnosed him with cancer. It wasn't news anyone wanted to hear. But because an air ambulance was able to get Sam to the children's hospital right away, doctors were able to move fast with their treatment, which greatly improved Sam's odds of survival. Sam's not out of the woods yet. But thanks to the expert care he's receiving in Omaha, and the swift response from the air ambulance team, things are looking up.
Sam's story is just one example of how air medical transport helps saves lives. Connecting patients with the care they so desperately need is what MedFlight911 does, and we're very proud of that. We think it would be great if every rural hospital and healthcare center had the resources to treat every kind of patient. But the fact is, that's simply not possible. Instead, we're there to get patients to the places that do have those resources, whether it's a pediatric cancer center, a hospital equipped to treat traumatic brain injury patients, a burn treatment center, or other specialized facility. Our job is to provide the kind compassionate, patient-friendly transport that people need during tough times.
To learn more about MedFlight911's air medical transport services, give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air ambulance quote here.