EMS World

SEP 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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COVER REPORT: AEROMEDICAL EVACUATION 20 SEPTEMBER 2018 | EMSWORLD.com BRINGING THEM HOME: U.S. AIR FORCE AEROMEDICAL EVACUATION They can transport injured patients to the U.S. from anywhere in three days with a 98% survival rate By Barry D. Smith Y ou and your crew receive an inter- facility transfer mission for your fixed-wing air ambulance. You arrive at your aircraft and look inside. It has a completely bare cargo area 88 feet long by 18 feet wide. You must convert this space into a fully func- tional flying ICU. It can carry a maximum of 36 litter and 54 ambulatory patients. Its four engines can push the aircraft's 500,000-plus-pound weight to a cruis- ing speed of 515 mph at over 40,000 feet. Welcome to another day with a U.S. Air Force (USAF) aeromedical evacua- tion squadron. There are a total of 31 aeromedical evacuation squadrons (AES) in the USAF, 27 of which are attached to the Air National Guard or USAF Reserve. All aeromedical evacuation functions for military person- nel are controlled by the USAF Air Mobility Command (AMC). This command controls the USAF's almost 1,100 cargo and aerial refueling aircraft. The office of the AMC's command surgeon establishes treatment proto- cols, determines equipment, and sets all procedures and standards that relate to aeromedical evacuation. An AES has no aircraft assigned to it; all aircraft used for medical evacuation missions are cargo or aerial refueling aircraft assigned by the AMC's Tanker Airlift Control Center. The control center is like a dispatch center for all cargo and refueling aircraft and is staffed 24/7. During the Vietnam War it took an average of 45 days to return patients to the U.S., and only 75% of wounded sol- diers survived. Today specialized teams can transport patients from the point of injury to the U.S. in three days with a 98% survival rate. Crew and Training A typical aeromedical evacuation (AE) crew consists of two nurses and three aeromedical evacuation technicians (AETs). They can handle about 25 patients. If there are more patients or it will be a long flight and the crew will need relief, they add an extra flight nurse and AET. For example, it's an eight-hour flight from Germany to Afghanistan, about two hours

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