CRITICAL MEDEVAC ON COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS: A CASE STUDY
Medilink recently carried out a successful medevac on commercial flights from Kuala Lumpur to Tunis of a patient in a critical condition. While every medevac has its own exigencies, this particular case was exacting and uniquely challenging given the length of the mission, some 26 hours, the unstable medical condition of the patient and the technical and logistical capabilities required to carry it out. Commercial airlines were the only viable option as the family was seeking a cost-effective solution due to the patient’s lack of medical travel insurance cover.
This mission required immense stamina from those with first-hand responsibility for the patient’s immediate medical care as well as precision planning of complex logistics. We undertook the evacuation as much on humanitarian grounds as commercial given the specific circumstances facing the patient and his family.
The patient had arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Africa on a personal visit three months prior to the medevac. He was taken ill with malaria contracted in Africa and over the course of a three-month hospitalisation in Kuala Lumpur had developed septicemia which necessitated the amputation of a leg. The patient had also suffered multiple organ failure on more than one occasion.
We had to assess the viability of any medevac given the instability of the patient. Medilink’s Senior Medical Advisor Dr Nuno Cosmelli, a highly-experienced flight medic, arrived in the Malaysian capital to carry out a critical first-hand assessment of the patient.
Dr Cosmelli, who joined our team in April 2017 after over 20 years on the ground in Africa, is a specialist in aeronautical medicine.
Putting Medevac Plans into Action
We updated our risk analysis on a daily basis, all the while in constant negotiation with commercial airlines serving the route from Kuala Lumpur to Tunisia. The state of the patient required precision planning in order to ensure the best possible medical care and service on two commercial Turkish Airline’s flights during the 26-hour operation. The mission also included procuring local medical services for the four-hour stopover in Istanbul.
One more than one occasion, our team had to abort the mission and restart the entire logistical planning on account of the patient’s instability. In flight, the patient required continuous medical care and monitoring to maintain a stable condition and to mitigate flight fatigue.
Medilink medevac using commercial airlines Services from across Medilink were engaged, starting with our Emergency Alarm Centre which was the first point of contact for the patient’s family. Their request was immediately passed to the Emergency Response Planning unit which activated the critical assessment of the situation, as well as setting in motion clinical governance procedures and the planning and deployment of appropriate medevac services, equipment and personnel.
Medilink succeeded in transferring the patient in a stable condition back home to Tunisia. Evacuation on commercial flights is a service we provide as routine in cases not requiring immediate emergency transfer.
However, this particular case shows our commitment to seeking the most viable, cost-effective and safe option however demanding the individual circumstances. Finally, we would like to extend our gratitude to our Turkish Airlines who were committed partners throughout and without whom this operation would not have been possible.
MEDILINK ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC MEDEVAC PARTNER IN ANGOLA
Medilink is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Golden Hour, a leading provider of medical escort and medevac services in Angola. The partnership with the Luanda-based provider sees Medilink strengthen further its reach and direct involvement on the African continent.
Golden Hour is a sector leader in Angola with immense resources and field experience in West Africa. The provider has invested heavily in recent years building up its corps of internationally-trained medevac flight crew along with standby aircraft, ambulance services and its own vast stocks of medical supplies and equipment.
Medical & Medevac Services in Angola: Strategic Role in Medilink’s Africa Operations
Medilink’s partnership with Golden Hour demonstrates our firm commitment to serving an international client base operating across the African continent. The past year alone has seen Medilink involved in major projects in Africa, such as providing mobile, remote medical support to a multinational team working across a 1,200km corridor straddling national borders. In addition, we have been engaged in Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique.
The partnership with Golden Hour comes just six months after Medilink opened a permanent office in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, with the aim of increasing its ability to support teams operating not just in the North but also in sub-Saharan and central Africa.
Announcing the new partnership, Medilink CEO Simon Camilleri said that in Golden Hour, Medilink had found a partner that shared the same ethos and ethics in their approach to service delivery. “Over and above being able to provide immediate support to clients in Angola, and strengthen our presence in West Africa, the partnership with Golden Hour is a meeting of minds. We are honoured to have found in Golden Hour a partner that shares our rigorous approach not only to delivering critical medical services but also to areas such as strategic planning and clinical governance. These aspects are key to setting and maintaining the highest professional standards in our sector.”
Dr Rui Araujo, Medical Director at Golden Hour, said that the new partnership, which builds on the experience of delivering medevac operations for Medilink in Angola, would enable the company to offer an enhanced range of skills and expertise to their core client base in the country. “By drawing on the depth and breadth of Medilink’s international experience, Golden Hour can now offer added value in new areas such as medical emergency response planning, occupational health and health risk assessment to complement to our core competencies in medevac”, Dr Araujo said.