Case study: AIRLEC Ambulance transports mass casualties from France to Asia
A single patient requiring repatriation is a challenge in itself, so four at once involves exceptional pre-planning and execution – especially from France to Asia. Fortunately, Airlec was more than up to the task.
It is not every day that you receive a call about several patients in severe condition in an Asian country. Contacted by a long-standing client, Airlec quickly sprang into action, gathering the limited information available to determine how the patients could be repatriated as soon as possible.
Considering the need for four stretchers – including one ICU stretcher – and the length of flight, the obvious aircraft choice was Airlec’s Falcon 900EX, which allowed for a multiple transport option with only one fuel stop during the 12-hour flight. With time being of the essence and limited information available, the team at Airlec immediately started the planning process by requesting the necessary permits for overflight, departure and landing, as well as visas and customs. As Russian airspace had to be avoided, overflight permits for five different countries were necessary, in addition to landing permits in the country of operation.
Meanwhile, Airlec’s Medical Management ensured that all patients were fit to fly by obtaining as much information as possible, despite the challenging circumstances. Due to a wide network and relations, all permits were confirmed within 15 hours, and the Falcon departed for the country of operation less than 30 hours after activation. Leaving from Bordeaux Airport, the Falcon 900 EX made its 12-hour journey to Asia, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, four stretchers, and an extended medical crew to care for the four patients onboard.
As per usual procedure, Airlec’s team made an on-site medical visit upon arrival. This ensured that the information provided was accurate, while all patients were indeed in the prescribed condition and therefore able to be transported back on air ambulance without restriction. Following evaluation, all patients had suffered severe polytraumas, including femur or hip fractures, and spine fractures without neurological complications.
The patient requiring ICU treatment was diagnosed with a severe thoracic trauma, including multiple rib fractures, minimal pneumothorax and D1 vertebral fracture, associated with multiple fractures of the lower limb which required continuous onboard treatment. Thankfully, no pneumothorax was present in any patient, allowing for all injured to be repatriated back to Europe without performing sea-level flights. As on every mission, all patients were continuously monitored, thromboprophylaxis and oxygen were supplied and fluids were given. Due to one patient presenting metabolic issues, ongoing monitoring through Airlec’s I-stat®️ blood analysis was required. The flight remained uneventful, with all patients in stable condition.
Upon arrival, patients were transferred to their pre-arranged admission hospitals in unchanged or even improved condition. Paul Tiba, Managing Director of Airlec on the successful multiple-patientrepatriation, said: “This mission once again confirms that expertise goes a long way, and that trusted relationships with the client – and our network of providers – make the impossible possible. Many thanks to everyone for their continuous support and trust, and to our teams on the ground and in the air for their impeccable work.”
It was a truly successful mission, thanks to the close collaboration between Airlec and its client, alongside Airlec’s trusted network of providers – which allowed for record times in obtaining permits and arranging the necessary administrational tasks. From activation until safe touchdown in Europe, it was a true example of excellence in assistance, aviation and medicine.