UK air rescue organisations don't always operate solely on a local level. AirMed is the largest UK-based, fixed-wing air ambulance company, conducting hundreds of repatriations worldwide each year. If you're abroad and tragedy strikes, it's AirMed which comes to your rescue; providing first class health care and transit to your home medical facilities.
AirMed's Director of Business Development, Jane Topliss, relates the tale of an expecting mother who was on a trip to Kazakhstan, and suffered complications as the baby arrived ahead of schedule in a foreign land.
"In July 2011, AirMed received a request from Mapre Assistance to repatriate a young 'mother to be' from Kazakhstan back to her home in the UK. The poor first-time mother had ruptured her membranes prematurely at 29 weeks gestation while visiting overseas. The local medical centres didn't have the facilities to assist her so medical information was passed to AirMed's obstetric and neonatal coordinators. They quickly recognised the potential risks to the mother, including sepsis and premature labour, and were keen for her to access specialist care as quickly as possible.
The medical team was concerned and administered appropriate drugs to minimise the damaging effects of the sepsis which was likely to adversely affect the baby. Despite the young mother being essentially pain free, it soon became clear that delivery was inevitable and there was no time move her back to the UK. The aeromedical team made preparations to deliver her in the clinic with support from the resident clinic team. A baby boy was delivered pale, floppy and not breathing. He was intubated without delay and with effective ventilation, his heart rate and circulation were quickly restored and he became pink. He was kept warm and placed in occlusive wrapping on a chemically activated gel mattress, while intravenous and in-dwelling monitoring lines were inserted.
Once both mother and newborn were stable enough, AirMed safely transported the pair back to the UK. A joyful welcoming committee including a proud father and grandparents met their son and grandchild for the first time when the team arrived at the hospital."
When the going gets tough, AirMed personnel continue to inspire and perform duties that require utmost skill and care. The example above is just one of the many dramatic rescues with a happy ending which the aeromedical team perform.
With close to 52,560 local air ambulance lifts happening in a given year, if lift-off happens every 10 minutes, then every second counts. When Air Charter Service charters an air ambulance in case of emergencies, the merger of ground and flight staff in a seamless manner prevents problems and continues to save lives.