Medical Evacuations

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Navigating Medical Evacuations: Balancing Decision-Making and Local Care

By Dr Sean Gottschalk, Chief Medical Officer: Assist360 

I understand the gravity of the choices we make. Our 24/7 Global Response Centre is dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions in regions marked by conflict, high-risk, or inadequate medical infrastructure. However, it is essential to emphasise that while medical evacuations are a crucial aspect of our services, they are not always the answer. There’s an equally important recognition that local care can often be the most suitable course of action. 

The Power of Local Networks 

In regions marked by conflict or poor medical infrastructure, our extensive local networks become invaluable assets. These networks are cultivated over the years, built on trust and collaboration with local medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics. Once a client is admitted to one of these medical centres, we don’t just leave them to it. Our Global Response Centre of specialists works in collaboration, continually liaising with the local medical teams and the patients. 

Choosing Local Care 

Opting for local care isn’t a sign of compromise; it’s an informed decision rooted in the patient’s best interests. There are instances where local medical facilities, backed by our network, can provide quality care that matches the care available in more distant locations. Furthermore, sometimes the patient is put at unnecessary risk by enduring a lengthy evacuation. A flight medical evacuation is only carried out where local resources are unable to manage or are not of the standard required. We can rapidly facilitate medical evacuation in any life or limb-threatening case. We work with multiple international aeromedical evacuation companies to facilitate these transfers when required.  

The Decision-Making Process 

Our decision-making process revolves around collaboration and expertise. Our medical experts at Assist360 work with the medical teams on the ground to analyse the patient’s condition, the available medical facilities, the urgency of the situation, and the potential risks associated with evacuation.  

The Role of Evacuations 

While evacuations are often necessary, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Evacuating a patient from a challenging location can introduce additional risks, such as transportation-related complications and potential delays. Furthermore, not all medical conditions require an immediate evacuation. Sometimes, stabilising the patient locally and providing proper treatment can lead to a successful outcome without the need for evacuation. Transporting patients is only done in the patient’s best interest. 

Minimising Unnecessary Evacuations 

Avoiding unnecessary evacuations is something we always consider. This reduces the financial burden on the patient and the organisation.  

Evacuations, while essential, can be financially demanding and resource-intensive. By recommending local care when appropriate, we contribute to efficient resource allocation while maintaining the quality of care. This type of cost containment is part of our holistic approach. 

Making the Right Call 

In the realm of medical assistance, you have to make the right call quickly. Our commitment to comprehensive solutions entails recognising the power of local networks, making informed decisions in collaboration with medical experts, and prioritising the well-being of the patient above all.  

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