Air Ambulances Are Almost as Old as Maned Flight Itself

Emergency medical response agencies deliver specialized medical care in a mobile environment. They save thousands of lives every year. Air ambulance personnel works with ground transport to rescue ill or injured people in hard-to-reach places that are far from medical help. The paramedics are trained to provide medical care for critically injured or ill people outside the normal confines of a hospital. As mentioned in a blog by Shahram Shirkhani Twitter feed, drones are now being considered for medical emergency response.

Common Equipment

Most air ambulances carry ventilators, medications, ECGs and their monitoring units, stretchers and CPR equipment along with the emergency medical response team. Care can be given while in flight. There are also specialized aircraft that are outfitted for specific illnesses or injuries.

From the Beginning

Almost as soon as man could fly, he has been using airplanes to aid the sick and injured. The military first realized the benefit of air ambulance service. Treating patients during the flight was first used during World War I. According to the records kept by the French Air Service, the mortality rate dropped to 10 percent from 60 percent when they started evacuating wounded soldiers by air. Britain used air ambulance in 1917 for a 45 minute flight to a hospital that would have taken three days by land transportation. Helicopters were used during World War II, the Korean War, and during the Vietnam War, when they took soldiers to hospital ships off shore.

Air ambulances were first used for civilians by countries such as Canada and Australia because they had vast areas that were inaccessible by road. The Royal Flying Doctor Service was started in Australia’s outback and still operates today.

Aircraft and Medical Standards

Most air ambulances are piloted by a person who an extensive amount of experience piloting aircraft. This is mainly because air ambulance flights often need to fly through more challenging conditions than a regular commercial flight. In the United States, the Commission of Air Medical Transportation Systems (CAMTS) has stringent accreditation requirements to ensure national public safety standards. They ensure that the aircraft, pilots and crew, including medical personnel meet these standards. In order to have the right medical treatment for each mission, some air ambulance companies charter aircraft that is outfitted for a specific type of mission.

Getting CAMTS accreditation is voluntary. However, many states require the accreditation for air ambulances agencies to operate in those states. Services that don’t get accreditation in some states must undergo an equivalent survey by CAMTS experts. There are also air ambulance services in Canada and South Africa that have submitted to CAMTS accreditation requirements.

What Can Drones Do?

Drones can go where other flights cannot go, and an air ambulance drone can carry equipment such as a defibrillator and a communication system to an outlying place where a person is experiencing cardiac arrest. An emergency medical technician can direct someone on the scene to use the equipment. This not only reduces the response time by 90 percent, it also increases the survival rate from 10 percent to 80 percent.

Air ambulances have been operating from the beginning of air travel, but they have improved over the decades, and today, save thousands of lives by carrying medical treatment and transportation to people who need it but are far from help.

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About Ferland Manuel

Dr, Manuel Ferland is health care specialist,