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Medical Tourism and the Air Ambulance

Medical Tourism and the Air Ambulance

Are “medical tourists” poised to overtake traditional air medical patients as the leading users of international air ambulance services? It could happen — one day.

Yesterday, in fact, a UC lecturer expressed his concerns on the growth of international medical tourism, noting that its current booming status is the result of the failure of some governments to respond to increasing demands for public health services.

Earlier this month, the air ambulance service FDN (Flying Doctors Nigeria) went on the record in Nigeria’s The Nation to state that its purpose is “not” to promote foreign medical tourism.

Earlier this year, Iranian President Ahmadinejad boasted of advances in medical science and technology, purporting that Iran is now welcoming about 30,000 international medical tourists into its healthcare facilities each year.

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Guam’s CareJet Program Resumes Service

Guam’s CareJet Program Resumes Service

A news release that appeared on PNC has confirmed that Carejet Assist is resuming its air medical service in Guam and the Mariana Islands effective this month. The reinstatement of the subscriber-based air ambulance program appears to be related to a brand new agreement between Carejet and Calvo SelectCare.

Additionally, Carejet is expanding its range of air ambulance services to include medical escort for patients who are able to travel on regular commercial airliners when critical health care services are not a requirement.

CareJet had previously provided its lifesaving services in the Pacific from October 2007 to November 2011. The service was halted when not enough residents of the Marianas had signed up for coverage.

We covered the ceasing of CareJet’s services a bit back in November 2011, in a blog titled Are Subscriber-Based Air Ambulance Services Always Feasible.

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Charity Money for Air Ambulance Stolen from Pub

Charity Money for Air Ambulance Stolen from Pub

This is one of those stories that just turns your stomach while reading. I’ve seen far too many stories like this one over the past few years (although even one is too many).

Once again, yet another sizable chunk of money has been stolen from an air ambulance charity in the UK.

Approximately 5000 GBP in cash (just about $8000 USD) that by all rights should go to the Dorset and Somerset air ambulance services has ended up in the hands of some two-bit thieves once again.

According to the article in This is Somerset, a pub called the Black Horse had been raising funds for the air ambulance charity in a re-used water cooler jug. Out of the goodness of their hearts, the pub’s regulars had been depositing cash to support the air ambulance in the bottle over the past year.

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FAA Approves Ornge to Fly U.S. Skies

FAA Approves Ornge to Fly U.S. Skies

Canada’s now-famous Ornge air ambulance service has been given permission by the FAA to fly its emergency transport helicopters in U.S. airspace.

Effectively, this means that that Ornge’s fleet of emergency air ambulances can now transport patients to and from any location in the United States.

What does it mean for patients? Well, it’s not that helicopter patient transports from Canada to the United States are all that common, or even typically necessary. However, according to the Interim CEO of Ornge, the newly granted permission gives patients “one more option to ensure [they] receive the care they need.”

The CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital expressed to the CBC that the FAA allowance will make it easier for Ontario citizens who need medical care while abroad in the United States to return home after they’ve been stabilized.

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Scan Patients’ Bodies Before Transport? London’s Air Ambulance Tests Out Vscan

Scan Patients’ Bodies Before Transport? London’s Air Ambulance Tests Out Vscan

For eight weeks, London’s Air Ambulance will be testing out General Electric Healthcare’s portable “Vscan,” which will allow them to non-invasively see inside a patient’s body before a transport.

The ultrasound device — roughly the size of one of today’s smartphones — is not only extremely portable, but also produces a clear, high-quality image for quick, accurate readings by clinicians in emergency situations.

Why is this so important? By scanning patients before an air transport, you can assess the presence of fluid in areas of the body and identify other life threatening conditions. Unchecked, fluid build-ups can cause compression of the heart, a condition that often requires an emergency surgical procedure.

According to GE Healthcare, London’s Air Ambulance is intending to use the Vscan for FAST scanning — Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma. This will, among other things, allow the emergency service to rapidly assess the presence of blood on the abdomen, pelvis, and pericardium.

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