Tag Archives: Medical Air Transport

More Hypothermia Info for Medical Air Transport Paramedics

In the previous post, we talked about the causes and symptoms of hypothermia. But that’s not enough information to help medical air transport paramedics in dealing with patients who suffer from hypothermia. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some other important facts about the condition.

How Hypothermia Impacts People

The worst thing about hypothermia is that it can affect every single organ in the body. In the case of mild hypothermia, a patient may experience confusion, amnesia, slurred speech, and impaired judgment. As the condition worsens, a patient that was once lethargic may become comatose and their reflexes may disappear. The central nervous system also becomes unable to regulate the cardiovascular system.

Need for Medical Air Transport Paramedics to be Aware of Special Populations

What’s important for medical air transport paramedics to remember is that there are certain age groups and types of people that are more vulnerable to hypothermia. Interestingly, patients who are either extremely old or extremely young tend to be the most vulnerable age groups. Both of these age groups have less physiologic reserve in addition to a decreased ability to produce heat when needed.

Some elderly patients may be unable to sense ambient temperature, leaving them unable to protect themselves from the cold. So during winters, you may notice that some older patients can become hypothermic even just from staying inside a house that’s slightly too cold for them. Since they have decreased compensatory ability, hypothermia may develop even when the temperature doesn’t seem too cold to you.

In case of neonatal patients, they have almost zero ability to defend themselves against the cold. That is the reason why warming plays such a crucial role in resuscitating patients who fall under this category. Infants that are five days old or more may be able to metabolically compensate, but they are still extremely prone to heat loss.

What You Need to Know about Hypothermia When Providing Medical Air Transport

When you’re working as a care provider for medical air transport, you come across different kinds of patients. Although you will most often encounter trauma patients, you might even have to conduct search and rescue missions if you’re based at a remote location. That’s when you might come across patients with accidental hypothermia.

Even in other cases when the patient has an underlying condition, there may be chances of hypothermia occurring. It’s important to carefully understand the condition so you can provide necessary pre-hospital care.

Understanding the Causes of Hypothermia

First of all, you should understand that accidental hypothermia can be of two types – primary and secondary. When the body is exposed to a cold environment for extended periods of time, it can result in primary hypothermia. In other words, this type of hypothermia isn’t caused by an underlying condition.

Secondary hypothermia, on the other hand, can occur when the body’s ability to regulate its heat balance is disrupted or there’s a decreased ability to generate or conserve heat. Burn victims, stroke patients, sepsis patients, etc. may be susceptible to hypothermia. Medical air transport providers should also watch out for hypothermia in patients with hypopituitarism, hypothyroidism, hypoadrenalism, or hypoglycaemia.

Substances like sedatives, alcohol, beta-blockers, antipsychotics, and oral antihyperglycemics can also result in conditions that cause secondary hypothermia. Major trauma, tumours, CNS injuries, and infusion or cold fluids could also be other possible causes.

Identifying Hypothermia Symptoms for Medical Air Transport Care Providers

Although it’s a bit of a challenge to recognize hypothermia, you can look for signs like depressed vital signs, speech difficulty, memory problems, mydriasis, behavioral disturbances, etc. You might also notice that patients with hypothermia may fail to shiver even if they’re obviously cold. Their pulse and respiration may also be a bit more difficult to detect although present.

Medical Air Transport and Pediatric Treatment Errors: What You Need to Know

When you’re working in medical air transport, you would encounter all kinds of patients. There will be times you have to care for and transport pediatric patients. While the experience may be highly rewarding, it can also be extremely challenging. As a result of this, many air ambulance paramedics and EMS providers are at risk of making pediatric treatment errors.

Reasons and Risk Factors of Pediatric Treatment Errors

Due to the delicate nature of their bodies, children are susceptible of getting critically ill in just a matter of seconds. This is where the skill and expertise of the medical air transport paramedic will make a huge difference. Be aware of the following risk factors of errors in pediatric treatment so you can provide better quality of care:

  • Insufficient training regarding pediatric patients
  • Infrequent hands-on experience dealing with pediatric patients
  • High stress levels compelling providers to scoop and run instead of staying and treating pediatric patients
  • Lack of appropriate equipment to care for and/or transport children in an air ambulance

Basics in Pediatric Treatment for Medical Air Transport Paramedics

In addition to the above risk factors, be aware of the following basic tips that will help you provide better care to pediatric patients:

  • Thoroughly assess pediatric patients to identify less-obvious medical conditions
  • Cross check everything before administering medications
  • Instead of relying on memory, contact medical control in case you have any queries
  • Coordinate with administrators regarding any system flaws or setbacks so as to improve on pediatric patient care

It’ll be important to stay calm and composed no matter how stressed you may feel in the beginning. If you panic, there’s a high risk of making mistakes in patient assessment and medicine administration.

Tips for Medical Air Transport Crews to Assess Pediatric Trauma Patients

When you’re working as an air ambulance paramedic or doctor, many of the cases you’ll be responding to will include trauma. In assessing trauma patients, it’s important that you thoroughly understand the trauma’s mechanisms and how those mechanisms can affect different body functions and organs. This is especially crucial when you’re working with pediatric patients who need medical air transport.

Pediatric Trauma Patient Assessment Tips in Medical Air Transport

Take a look at some of these tips and make the most of them when you have to care for a kid who has undergone physical trauma:

  • While the actual assessment process may be similar with that of an adult patient, pediatric patients may have difficulty participating in the assessment. Additionally, some of the patients may have difficulty understanding the assessment, which can prove to be a challenge.

    In some cases, the patient may be uncomfortable with your questions because you’re a stranger to them. So your initial task should be to calm the patient and then build a good rapport before you proceed with the assessment.

  • Begin with a visual assessment before you perform a hands-on treatment. This could be useful for understanding which areas will require more focus. For instance, there may be severe bruising on some parts of the body. This means you’ll need to give priority to those regions where the bruising occurs.
  • In your career as a medical air transport crew member, you might have encountered several patients who are in a state of compensated shock after a trauma. What you need to know is that pediatric patients can remain in this state for much longer than adult patients. However, if these mechanisms fail, it could be because the patient has suffered excessive blood loss and needs to get a transfusion immediately.

These basic tips should be able to guide you in the assessment of pediatric trauma patients, which can result in successful patient hand-offs. Look out for the next post to find out more tips on pediatric trauma patient assessment.

How to Reduce the Impact of Fatigue for Medical Air Transport Paramedics

You’ve just pulled a long shift and now have to respond to another call. The life of a medical air transport paramedic can be exhausting and many of you may suffer from fatigue every now and then. Prolonged suffering from fatigue can have a serious impact on your health in the long run, making it crucial to take care of the issue before it’s too late.

Preventing Fatigue from Impacting the Lives of Medical Air Transport Paramedics

Since the job calls for it, fatigue is often unpreventable but you can reduce its impacts to a significant extent. This helps you do your job properly and also enables you to prevent the long-term negative effects. Take a look at some of the key steps you can take:

  • Staying hydrated – Make sure you maintain proper fluid levels in your body. This ensures that the different body systems continue to function normally and you remain alert for longer.
  • Maintaining healthy lifestyle – As a medical air transport paramedic, proper health is crucial for ensuring that you carry out your duties as necessary. So make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle by staying in shape and minimizing your intake of fat and sugar. This also enables you to be less tired even while you’re suffering from fatigue.
  • Avoiding tobacco and caffeine – When you’re feeling fatigued, you may feel compelled to use stimulants like caffeine and tobacco to help you stay alert. Excessively indulging in these substances can have a serious impact on your health in the long run.

Maintaining proper sleep schedules – Abrupt changes in your sleep pattern may disrupt your sleep and even result in sleeplessness. So it’s important to avoid aggravating the symptoms of fatigue by maintaining a proper sleep schedule according to your shift. This means continuing with the schedule even during your days off.

The Impact of Obesity on Medical Air Transport Crews

In an era where people are trying to promote self-love, you may notice a lot of people talking about how it’s unnecessary to lose weight. But as an air ambulance paramedic, obesity could have a serious impact on your health and safety. It can’t be considered as just a lifestyle issue but also a safety issue when you have to be a part of a medical air transport crew.

Physical Fitness Crucial for Medical Air Transport Jobs

When you’re obese, you generally move slowly and your physical abilities are impaired to a significant extent. You’re much heavier, which means that you’re going to find it difficult to carry your weight around effortlessly. You may even struggle to perform certain tasks that your co-workers can easily finish. It is no surprise that many air ambulance providers may require that their ambulance paramedics are physically fit to qualify for the job. Due to the fact that the job calls for plenty of physical activity and fast response, it’s crucial that you maintain your physical fitness.

Health Effects of Obesity

So you see that the job calls for medical air transport paramedics to remain fit. But even if the job doesn’t call for it, being fit is significantly healthier than being obese. Obesity leaves you more prone to several health problems such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, and diabetes as well as certain types of cancer. People with obesity are also more prone to suffering from back injuries, which can be a burden.

You probably already know all the negative impacts of obesity, but it’s important to keep reminding yourself about them when you’re surrounded by a culture that’s telling you to “love yourself”. Remember that maintaining an unhealthy body weight is an effective way to love yourself so try to get fit for the sake of your health and your job.

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.

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

Thinking of a Career in Medical Air Transport? Consider becoming a Critical Care Flight Nurse

Depending on the seriousness of the illness and the care requirements, a patient may be transported through any form of medical air transport. It could be through an air ambulance, commercial stretcher or medical escort. The point to be noted, however, is that all these forms of medical air transport invariably need the services of a flight nurse. It is one of those air ambulance careers that is seeing a high degree of demand currently and is slated to grow steadily. There is also a sense of adventurism that comes with the job as you are expected to be in the midst of challenging situations.

The Mindset of a Medical Air Transport Nurse

The salaries of air ambulance nurses are pretty high; however, it is also a high-pressure job. Often, flight nurses, especially critical care flight nurses, are expected to take calls that can mean the difference between life and death. Not every medical air transport vehicle carries a doctor on every rescue. So, remaining unflustered in tough situations is a quality that takes the front seat if you want to become a flight nurse. The ability to take calls independently and improvise to make the best of the situation is another welcome trait. It is always an on-call duty. If being available round the clock is too much for you, then this career is not for you.

Qualifications of a Medical Air Transport Critical Care Nurse

The foremost requirement is the license to practice in the state where you’re based. Most medical air transport companies demand an experience of at least 5 years, if you’re targeting critical care. The nurse might be required to attend Aviation Physiology courses once a decade. The course must meet the Department of Transportation specifications. The following certifications are deemed necessary:

  • International Basic Trauma Life Support Provider
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider

Most medical air transport companies prefer additional Advanced Pediatric Life Support Provider certification, although this is not compulsory.

Above all, a flight nurse needs to posses compassion and excellent interpersonal skills.

Historical Facts about Medical Air Transport

Most of our discussions have always revolved around insurances, scheduling, and other facts pertaining to medical air transport. Here, we veer a bit from our usual discussions and move towards a few fun facts that will also add to the pool of your general knowledge.

First Medical Air Transport Vehicle was actually a Balloon

Yes, you read it right, a balloon! An air balloon was first used in 1866 to rescue stranded sailors of a shipwreck. The rescue finds mention in Jules Verne’s Robur le Conquérant. The name of this medical air transport balloon was Albatross. Some time later, another air ambulance balloon was used to evacuate 160 soldiers from a city under siege in 1870.

The WW-I also Marked the Beginning of Medical Air Transport

Well, something good came out of the War that had left the world in shambles. The French were the first to recognize the importance of medical air transport. They estimated that the mortality rate would fall by 60% if medical air transport was made use of.

The first person to be rescued through a proper aircraft for medical reasons was as Serbian officer during World War I.

The credit of having an organized air ambulance service goes to the Nazi Germany, which in 1936 had a fleet of medical air transport vehicles. They first put it into use during the Spanish Civil War.

The First Civilian Medical Air Transport took Place in 1933

Private air ambulance services had still not come into picture. It was, in fact, the British Air Force that first started helping civilians. It was on May 14, 1933 that a fisherman who suffered a perforated stomach was transported through an air ambulance.

Switzerland caught up after World War II, mainly to aid in rescue missions involving mountains during winter sports.

Looking at these facts, we must feel fortunate knowing that the response time these days has gone down to just about 10 minutes during emergencies.