How Do I Decide Which Type of Medical Transport Is Right for Me (or My Loved One)?
MedFlight911 provides medical transport services to patients needing to travel longer distances (typically 150 miles or more), often from one care facility to another. Frequently, we transport patients “back home” when they’ve been injured or fallen ill away from home. We also often transport a wide variety of patients into closer proximity to loved ones who want to help care for them.
These types of medical transport – including air ambulance, commercial air medical escort, and ground medical escort – differ from ground and helicopter ambulances that typically transport patients short distances, most often from the scene of injury or illness to the hospital. (Stay tuned later this month for a blog about the difference between rotor wing helicopter ambulances and fixed wing air ambulances.)
Many times we get calls from family members of patients who need to be transported from one medical facility to another more than 150 miles away. Often, they have a hard time discerning which type of longer-distance medical transport is best. So let’s consider the three medical transport options we offer, and the circumstances in which each makes sense:
1) Fixed-wing air ambulance
- Our air ambulance service provides individual care for a single patient on a dedicated jet or turbo prop aircraft.
- The standard air ambulance medical crew includes a critical care nurse and a critical care paramedic. When necessary, a respiratory therapist and/or physician will accompany the patient as well.
- All of the air ambulances we use are specially-equipped for medical air transport. The standard on-board medical equipment includes a Lifeport™ or Spectrum™ stretcher, oxygen system, all Advanced Life Support (ALS) components, defibrillator, ventilator, IV pump, and a full complement of critical care and ACLS pharmaceuticals. When necessary, we can provide more specialized medical equipment, including Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, Handheld Blood Analyzer, Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump, Fetal heart & Tocodynamometer (Toco) monitor, Isolette with environmental controls, and Low flow air/oxygen blender.
- Our highly trained air ambulance medical crews can care for patients in almost any condition, from those requiring convalescent care between facilities to those with the most critical medical status.
- Our commercial air medical escort service provides individual care for a single patient on an international or domestic commercial airline.
- The patient is escorted to their final destination by a critical care paramedic, nurse or physician.
- The patient must be medically stable and meet certain physical standards to qualify for this travel option. A typical air medical escort patient may require lifting and transfer assistance, oxygen, basic monitoring, administration of medications and basic hygiene assistance.
- If timing is not a critical issue and the patient is stable enough, our commercial air medical escort service could be the most cost-effective, efficient transport option for your loved one’s medical air evacuation.
- Our ground medical escort service provides individual care for a single patient on a domestic train or medically-equipped motor coach.
- During a ground medical transport, a critical care paramedic, nurse, or physician is with the patient every step of the way.
- The patient must be medically stable and meet certain physical standards to qualify for this travel option. A typical ground medical escort patient may require lifting and transfer assistance, oxygen, basic monitoring, administration of medications and basic hygiene assistance.
- If timing is not a critical issue and the patient is stable enough, our non-emergency ground medical transport service could be the most cost-effective medical transport option for your loved one.
Making the decision about which type of medical transport is right for you is best done with expert help. At MedFlight911, we’ll help you balance time, cost, and necessity to determine whether air ambulance, commercial air medical escort, or ground medical escort is best for you or your loved one.