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The stretcher flight of a 91-year-old patient: What travelling with our medical escort looks like

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The stretcher flight of a 91-year-old patient: What travelling with our medical escort looks like

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While most of the time air ambulances are our primary form of patient transportation, we also have a medical escort service, which is more cost-effective. However, this is dependent on the patient’s condition and requires rigorous planning. 

For one of our missions, we organised a flight for a patient who needed to be repatriated back home from the UK. The patient travelled on a scheduled flight from a commercial airline company on a medical stretcher. Here is what a journey on a stretcher with Medical Repatriation UK’smedical escort looks like. 

An Alzheimer’s patient with major kidney dysfunctions

The 91-year-old patient had been staying in Essex, UK for a few months and had to travel back home to Iran. Being an Alzheimer's patient, he does not have much control over his mental capabilities and unfortunately, that was the case for his physical health as well. Due to severe anemia and major kidney dysfunction, he cannot sit upright at all, which meant that he would have to travel lying down at all times on a medical stretcher. 

stretcher bed in plane

His close relatives contacted us to assist with the patient's transportation. To put it simply: he required a medical stretcher to be set up on a commercial plane and a medical escort to accompany the patient to supervise his condition mid-air. However, this is easier said than done and it involves rigorous planning to ensure that everything goes smoothly. 

Organising the stretcher flight and the medical assessment 

Our aviation experts got right to work organising the flight. Despite the complexity of the mission, we took care of everything to relieve any form of stress on the patient’s relatives who were very cooperative. Looking into several airline companies, we explored several options and opted for the one which was safest for the patient

Being bed-ridden, the patient could not leave his house to conduct a medical assessment prior to the flight. This evaluation is important to determine whether the patient is fit-to-fly. As such, we sent one of our medical professionals, one specialising in intensive and critical care, to the patient’s house to carry out an in-depth examination and assess whether he will be able to sustain flying. 

What happened on the day of the flight? 

On the day of the flight, we picked up the patient from his residence in a ground ambulance. Our medical escort, a doctor, was waiting with him right from the start of the trip and he accompanied him to Heathrow Airport along with the physicians in the vehicle. After check-in, which was done by our medical crew, the patient was transported to Heathrow medical centre from where he was lifted into the plane. 

medical escort

All throughout the journey, our medical escort remained alongside the patient, monitoring his condition and ready to intervene if needed. Despite transits and transfers, the flight went on smoothly and the patient was able to reach his home safely. In another cabin on the same plane was his close relative who wished to remain close by for moral support. He was very grateful for the professionalism and efficiency demonstrated by our team during both the planning and the transport. 

Contact us for more information 

Organising patient transportation on a commercial plane requires meticulous planning to ensure that there are no miscommunications and mishaps. It is also dependent on the patient’s condition and is not always possible. If you wish to know whether our medical escort service is feasible for your condition, contact our team of experts. Our agents will assess your case and will advise you on the best course of action. If a medical escort is not suitable, we can provide you with an air ambulance that can transport even ICU patients. Get in touch with us by:

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