Category Archives: Air Ambulance Guide

What Air Medical Transport Crews should know about Acute Coronary Syndrome

Acute coronary syndrome or ACS is a term used for describing different myocardial (heart) conditions caused by a sudden reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle. This could result in heart attacks, cardiac arrests, and more. The patients suffering from these conditions require immediate care, making ACS a time-sensitive condition. So as an air medical transport crew, you need to administer the necessary pre-hospital care aiming towards rapid reperfusion, which involves the suddenly blocked coronary artery.

Important Pre-Hospital ACS care Tips for Air Medical Transport Crew

When providing pre-hospital care to patients suffering from any kind of ACS, here are some important tips you can make use of:

  • If the patient has a normal oxygen saturation level, it may be harmful to administer supplemental oxygen. So make sure you consider their SpO2 readings before you resort to supplemental oxygen use.
  • If the patient doe not have an allergy towards aspirin or is suffering from active gastrointestinal bleeding, immediate administration of aspirin is highly recommended. In order to ensure that the aspirin enters the bloodstream more rapidly, make sure the pill is chewed instead of being swallowed whole.
  • Although air medical transport crews can safely administer fibrinolytic therapy, it is not recommended if you can get the patient to a PCI center quickly. It is only recommended for use if the transport time is greater than 30 minutes.
  • Transporting a cardiac arrest patient to a PCI center at least 24 hours after the arrest is essential for better chance of survival.

When you are a part of an in-flight medical crew, it’s highly likely that you’ll encounter patients with chest pain every now and then. This makes it crucial to educate yourself on the latest assessment and treatment guidelines for acute coronary syndrome.

Sepsis Care Tips for Medical Flight Paramedics

Sepsis is commonly referred to as blood poisoning. It takes more lives than cancer and is more common than a heart attack. In fact, more than 4,000 children die in the U.S. every year because of sepsis. This makes it crucial for medical flight paramedics to proactively assess and care for patients with suspected sepsis. So here’s a brief guide to help you understand how to care for patients with this condition.

Initial Assessment for Septic Patients

Properly assessing a patient is crucial for medical flight paramedics and EMS providers alike. This speeds up the medical treatment process and also ensures the administration of appropriate care. In order to assess a patient suspected of having sepsis, it’s important to measure the body temperature accurately. A fever or a body temperature lower than normal may be detected if a patient has sepsis.

Fevers, chills, and body aches are some common symptoms of an infection. But not all patients may experience this especially when it comes to older individuals. Enquire about recent procedures like diagnostic tests or surgery, which may expose the patient to an infection risk. In addition, it’s important to measure the lactate level of a patient. If it’s greater than 4 mmols, it could be a strong indicator of sepsis.

To further confirm your suspicion of sepsis, it’s important to measure the exhaled carbon dioxide level of a patient. While a normal capnography reading may range between 35 and 45 mm Hg, a patient with sepsis generally exhibits a reading lower than 25 mm Hg. If this level of reading coincides with other vital signs that drove your suspicion of sepsis, the patient may be in need of immediate medical care.

Sepsis Treatment for Medical Flight Paramedics

It’s crucial to initiate sepsis treatment by administering large amounts of fluid to the patient. While you initiate antibiotic therapy, you may also need to maintain vascular tone through vasopressors like dopamine or norepinephrine.

Medical Flight Crew Guide: How to Identify Stroke and Provide Essential Care

Stroke is one of the top causes of death and long-term disability in the United States. Leaving a stroke untreated for one minute would result in about 1.9 million neurons being destroyed. If it’s untreated for an hour, the brain loses neurons equal to neuron loss occurring from 3.6 years of regular aging. This makes it crucial for a medical flight crew to conduct thorough assessment and provide necessary care for stroke patients or suspected stroke patients.

Detecting Symptoms of Stroke

If stroke is suspected, it is crucial to rush the patient to a facility that can rapidly assess and diagnose the condition in addition to providing treatment. However, many patients deny the symptoms. As a medical flight crew responding to a call in such cases, it’s important that you try to determine if the patient experienced or is experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden vision trouble (one eye or both eyes)
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Sudden trouble with walking
  • Sudden numbness or weakness around the face, arm, or leg
  • Dizziness/loss of coordination
  • Speech issues/trouble understanding

Providing Necessary Care to Stroke Patients as a Medical Flight Crew

Managing patients showcasing stroke symptoms requires team effort. With it being a time-dependent patient, you will need to have a protocol in place for providing organized and quick pre-hospital care to such patients. Although you may have a limited ability in terms of resources to provide care for a stroke patient, it would make a huge difference for you to alert a Stroke Team or make plans for rapid transportation to a stroke center.

During the transportation, try to carry out general neurological assessments as possible. Providing oxygen and, monitoring cardiac function, and drawing blood for labs, etc. should be quickly accomplished to streamline and expedite the care process.

How to Become Certified as a Respiratory Therapist for Air Ambulances

When you’re in the medical field, there are a number of areas in which you may opt to specialize. If you’ve decided to become a respiratory therapist, there are a number of places in which you can work including in an air ambulance. You’ve met the necessary educational qualifications to pursue your licensure, but you’re not sure where to go from there. Just read on to find out more about how to obtain a license and operate as a respiratory therapist for air ambulances.

Meeting the Certification Requirements

The standard requirement for anyone to become a certified respiratory therapist is by obtaining a national license through the NBRC or National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. It is the basis by which all other state boards will assess your qualification for a state licensure. So you will need to get through the Certified Respiratory Therapist or CRT examination.

Some respiratory therapists even pursue an advanced-level credential known as Registered Respiratory Therapist or RRT. While this may not be a prerequisite for licensure, it can boost your chances of being accepted as a certified respiratory therapist and provide your services at air ambulances. In fact, states like California and Ohio made it a mandate for respiratory therapists to obtain this license before gaining eligibility for a state license.

Meeting State Licensing Requirements and Working for Air Ambulances

Except for Alaska, every state within the U.S. requires that respiratory therapists also obtain state licensure. Although the process of gaining licensure may differ from state to state, the requirements are pretty much similar in all the states. This may include background checks, educational transcripts, and NBRC verifications in addition to application for licensure and application fees. It would do you well to study the requirements and procedures prescribed by the state licensing board in the state of your choice.

Basic Airway Management Tips for Medical Air Transport Providers

Even the most experienced healthcare professionals can find airway management quite challenging. While it’s a fundamental skill for all EMS professionals, it’s an extremely daunting task that requires precision, skill, and expertise. As medical air transport providers, you may also come across patients who need airway management and depend on your competence for their future.

Important Tips for Medical Air Transport Providers in Airway Management

When providing medical care to patients who need airway management, make use of the following tips to help make your job easier:

  1. Remember the good airway management hallmarks – oxygenate, ventilate, and protect the airway. You will be attempting to accomplish two physiological tasks that are equally important. For proper oxygenation and ventilation, you need to ensure that the airway is clear from blood or secretions.
  2. Don’t forget to conduct a thorough assessment and remain vigilant for any early signs of respiratory issues. Measure airway patency by determining the patient’s level of consciousness. Ideally, you will need to be more aggressive with patients that have a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) that is lower than 8.Your assessment should include measuring the adequacy of the patient’s breathing, whether it’s too fast or too slow, whether their breathing is shallow or deep, etc. Try to listen for abnormal sounds like snoring, grunting, stridor, or wheezing. All of these factors can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your airway management efforts when providing medical air transport.
  3. As someone who provides medical care, you need to master the use of whatever equipment you need. Your equipment usage should be true to the principles of airway management mentioned in point #1. Ensure that your suction devices, BVMS, and oral and nasal airways are working properly and of the right size for the patient.

Air Ambulance Transport for People with Altitude Sickness

High altitude can leave people with a certain type of sickness and edema, which may result in a call for air ambulance transport in many cases. Altitude sickness normally occurs at elevations higher than 8,000 feet. It is a combined result of genetic build-up, underlying conditions, and fitness level. The most common form of this condition is acute mountain sickness.

What Happens When a Person Has Altitude Sickness?

In your job as an air ambulance specialist, you may have come across a patient experiencing this condition. But not everyone knows how to determine whether or not someone has altitude sickness. In case of acute mountain sickness, the patient may experience symptoms like headache, decreased appetite, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and general malaise.

In some cases, the patient may experience periodic breathing, which can be identified by irregular breathing that is mostly noticeable while sleeping. Many forms of altitude sickness may not be life-threatening although they may limit the body’s abilities. However, air ambulance transport may be crucial for patients with high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) or high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).

Providing Air Ambulance Transport for Patients with Altitude Sickness

Acute mountain sickness doesn’t require a specific treatment, but it’s important for people to stop ascent until the symptoms subside. If the symptoms worsen, ensure proper hydration, which can significantly improve symptoms like headache. Descent can normally alleviate most symptoms of altitude sickness.

HAPE treatment requires the treatment of underlying pulmonary hypertension through descent. You will need to administer oxygen and other necessary medications. Even for patients with HACE, descent and oxygen usually help alleviate symptoms like irritability and headache. Many people make the mistake of getting such patients to descend alone. Instead of this, having an air ambulance chopper transport them back to safety is the best choice.

A Guide for Air Ambulance Specialists on Caring for Burn Victims

More than 450,000 people in the United States require medical treatment for burns every year. Since burns are so common, it’s likely that air ambulance specialists will come across at least one burn victim. How you initially asses and treat the patient can have a huge impact on their outcome, meaning that you need to keep yourself updated on the latest norms and trends in the treatment process.

Different Types of Burns Air Ambulance Specialists May Encounter

While all burns cause damage to the skin and the underlying tissue, not all burns are the same. Different types of burns can influence the treatment decision you need to take:

  • Thermal burns – Thermal burns make up 80% of the burn cases treated within the United States. It’s caused by exposure of the skin to open flame, scalding water, or intense flame. The damage to the skin can result in changes to the thermoregulatory system. This means that patients can become hypothermic unless air ambulance specialists take care to prevent heat loss. Pain management, aggressive airway management, and fluid resuscitation are also important.
  • Chemical burns – This type of burns is caused by exposure to different types of chemical compounds like acids, alkalis, and organics. It’s crucial that you remove any contaminated jewelry or clothing so as to limit exposure. Make sure you also use proper protective equipment to prevent exposure. If there’s any powder left on the skin, brush it off and immediately start flushing the contaminated areas using plain water.

    When you’re transporting the victim, continue the irrigation process but take care to avoid causing hypothermia in cases when you’re flushing large skin surfaces. Try using warm water in place of cold water.

In addition to these, you may come across people with electrical burns. The severity of this type of burns may be difficult to determine as they may cause internal injuries despite showing minimal evidence on the surface of the skin.

What You Need to Know about Critical Care Medical Air Transport

Patients in critical condition require extensive care. This makes it crucial for providers of critical care medical air transport to maintain efficiency and compassion in administering care. You can find air ambulance operators who provide specialized medical transportation services for such patients. The flights are fully-equipped with the latest medical tools for providing intensive care. The patients are also overseen by top-notch medical care providers from critical care nurses to in-flight doctors.

Comprehensive Care for Critical care Patients

Operators providing air ambulance critical care transport aim to provide the highest level of care to trauma patients. So they offer comprehensive care that isn’t just limited to transporting the patient to a hospital. They assign flight coordinators who make arrangements to provide the following services:

  • They aim to guarantee a smooth transfer from departure facility to destination facility. This will include obtaining medical reports and providing them to the receiving facility efficiently.
  • They make arrangements for ground ambulance service that will ensure optimum care in transportation between the medical facilities and the airport.
  • They assign an appropriate medical team for all medical air transport flights to ensure that each patient receives the right level of medical care. The composition of the team is tailored according to the needs and condition of the patient.
  • They even provide regular updates to family members and other necessary parties throughout the medical transfer.

Complete Equipment for Critical Care Medical Air Transport

Critical air ambulance aircrafts require a higher level of equipment than regular air ambulance aircrafts. So critical care aircrafts have to be equipped with the following:

  • Full mechanical ventilation including high-frequency oscillation ventilation and nitric oxide (NFOV)
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Ventricular assist devices
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Intra aortic balloon pump
  • Temporary pacemaker
  • Neonatal isolette transport
  • Point-of-care lab analysis capabilities
  • Invasive line insertion and monitoring

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist for Air Ambulances

Respiratory therapists form an integral part of any medical care team. They are especially important for air ambulances, as they normally deal with patients who have sustained critical injuries. Many times, such patients experience respiratory distress and require emergency help from a trained professional. If you’re trying to become a respiratory therapist to provide professional care for such patients, this article will give you a brief guide regarding the process.

Meeting the Educational Requirements

The standard requirement to become a respiratory therapist is a college education in the related field. Every state that gives out a license in respiratory therapy require candidates to completed a program in respiratory care at an accredited and recognized institution. To meet the minimum requirement for getting a license, you’ll need at least an associate’s degree with two complete academic years of study along with a clinical experience.

Regardless of whether you’re becoming a respiratory therapist for air ambulances or other emergency services, you’ll need to be proficient in the following:

  • Respiratory care
  • Oral and written communication
  • Social/behavioral sciences
  • Biomedical/natural sciences

What’s Next to Become an RT for Air Ambulances?

Once you’ve completed the relevant degree program approved by the CoARC or Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, you can move forward to the licensing procedure. You will need to pass the Certified Respiratory Therapist examination. In some states, you will be allowed to begin working in the field with a temporary license before you take the CRT exam.

Some employers, however, may also require that you have a Registered Respiratory Therapist credential as well. Since January 2015, this credential became a standard requirement for licensure in states like California and Ohio. After getting certified, you can then apply for licensure from the state and become a licensed respiratory therapist.

Tips for Spotting Brokers for Air Ambulance Transport

It can be a challenge to find the right provider for air ambulance transport especially when you have a lot on your plate. The good news is that you can always conduct a search online, which makes this task much easier. During this process, however, you may come across air ambulance brokers who may portray themselves so convincingly as actual air ambulance operators.

How to Differentiate Between a Provider and a Broker for Air Ambulance Transport

Although it’s common knowledge that air ambulance brokerage services aren’t a good idea, many people don’t realize this until it’s too late. So how do you spot an ambulance broker online? Here are a few basic tips to help you out:

  • If there are pictures of aircrafts on the website, look for the tail numbers and see if they correspond to the aircraft model on the FAA website. You can then identify the company licensed to operate that particular aircraft.
    Look for pictures where the aircraft doesn’t have a tail number or where the logos seem over imposed on the original photo. With decent photoshop skills, anyone can alter images.
  • Be cautious of careful wordings on the website content. For instance, they could be saying that they “have access to” a certain aircraft even if they don’t “own and operate” that aircraft. Instead of “providing” air ambulance transport, they could be “arranging” for such transport.
  • Look for the contact information and see if the company has a physical address. This is far more trustworthy than an anonymous P.O. box number. Additionally, local or geographic phone numbers are more preferable than a toll free number.
  • Find out if the website has a copy of the Air Operator Certificate on display. If not, then ask them to send you a copy because no company has the right to operate an aircraft without it.

While some brokers may provide valuable service, many of them may be just on the look-out for profits. That’s why it’s mostly recommended to be aware of air ambulance brokerage services when searching for air ambulance operators online.