It is one of those stories that will be recalled since we have handled them successfully and this knowledge is powerful experience for managing future cases. The pandemic we have been experiencing for about two years now has taught us crucial things and before that crisis, we would never believe that something like that could change our personal and professional life. We would have said that these would be science fiction script. However, the pandemic is a fact, millions of people have died because of that, and we are struggling not to be infected and be at risk by the complications of this virus.
Gamma Air Medical has faced cases of COVID-19 patients and was able to manage them because we immediately conformed to the new data and trained our team to handle such cases using the isolation chamber in order to prevent the spread of the virus and protect our medical team during the patient’s transport. To date, we have transported many COVID-19-patients, each one with different clinical status and every case has taught us different things for managing these patients. We had patients whose clinical image was excellent and just had to be repatriated according to protocol, but we also had patients whose repatriation was a complex issue, difficult to manage and we could have written different articles for some of them. However, we will be focused on the key elements that we observed and had to manage. One of them was the rapid change in patient’s clinical condition that had to be repatriated.
It is worth mentioning that repatriation requests are usually coming from insurance companies, but they may also be private and come from the patient’s family. The insurance companies respect and accept the recommendations of company’s Medical Director and acknowledge if the patient is not able to be transported. On the other hand, family is usually anxious for their beloved one, thus, the medical director must be careful when informing them about patient’s clinical condition.
We had many cases in the past where we had planned everything about patient’s transport – and after his clinical condition has changed, the company had to ‘put on ice’ the aircraft, the ground ambulance and the medical team until the patient has been stabilized and take the ‘Fit-to-Fly’.
In a recent case, our medical team got to the hospital to pick up the patient that had to be transported from Athens, Greece to Houston, TX, USA and we had to work hard for about 10 hours until the patient to get the fitness to fly the 5.500nm and 16 hours air trip . The patient was not vaccinated and suffered from acute complications of COVID-19. We managed to successfully transport her to Houston. However, some days later, we received an email form patient’s husband informing us that his beloved wife didn’t make it and passed away.
Gamma Air Medical strongly supports vaccination against COVID-19 as it will help us end this pandemic and it is fundamental to gain again our lives.