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A medical escort is a non-emergency medical service provided by commercial aircraft, by medical escort companies, and sometimes by self-employed medical escort freelancers, who typically work for a medical repatriation company. Medical escort is one of three options offered by these medical repatriation companies, they are Air ambulance, Road Ambulance, and Medical escort
Cost effectiveness comes from using Commercial aircraft, first and business class seats. On some occasions an airline stretcher will be used if the patient is unable to sit up in their seat for landing and take off. Several rows of seating in the back of the plane are removed to allow for a medical stretcher to allow non-emergency medical transport. Medical escort crews carry with them equipment that enables them to provide appropriate medical treatment to a non emergency patient. Common equipment for Medical escort services includes O², basic medication, monitoring equipment, and CPR equipment
Some companies provide the full spectrum of medical professionals, including certified paramedics, critical care nurses, Respiratory Therapists and physicians. The medical escort physicians consult with the referring physicians to jointly determine the most appropriate level of care and most suitable method of transportation.
Medical escort Team
The make up of the medical escort team of a medical escort varies depending on patient condition, country, area, service provider and by type of air medical Services. Commercial airliners are most likely to be used to transport patients, and the crew may consist of Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics, flight nurses, a Respiratory Therapist, and / or a physician. Those services with a primary focus on non-Emergency care transport are more likely to be staffed by paramedic and or a nurses. In these cases, the crew generally consists of a specially-trained advance care paramedic or nurse.
The nature of the air operation will frequently determine the type of medical control required, and in most cases, the available skill set of a typical paramedic. As a result, those operating in this environment will often be permitted to exercise more latitude in medical decision-making. Most systems operate almost entirely off-line, using recognised protocols for almost all procedures and only resorting to on-line medical control when protocols have been exhausted. Some Medical escort operations have full-time, on-site medical coordinators with relevant backgrounds
Equipment and Interiors
Many types of commercial aircraft can be used for medical escort purposes, aircraft are equipped with basic life support equipment and advanced life support Drugs in addition to all equipment and medications take by the team. Many escort teams can carry portable oxygen concentrators for patients that require it. Certain airlines can also accommodate commercial stretcher service where several seat rows in economy are removed and a commercial stretcher is fitted in place.
The challenge in most air medical escort operations, are the effects of reduced atmospheric pressure on some patients, the requirement to divert the aircraft to land quickly in the event of an unexpected emergency, fellow passengers, the amount of working space, both of which may create issues for the provision of ongoing care. While in flight the entire patient will be physically accessible. Although some companies have adapted many techniques and procedures to minimize the effect on other passengers and the overall safety and well-being of the patients flying on commercial flights.
There are many private providers offering transport by medical escort.
Global Air Ambulance has transported thousands of patients by medical escort since 1990. They specialize in international medical transport.
US Air Ambulance is another notable provider that specializes in repatriation services to and from the United States.
- Air Ambulances in the United Kingdom
- Air Ambulances in the United States
- Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport System