United States’ Own Charity Medical Air Services – Grace on Wings

In a world where meaningful charities are hard to come by, Grace on Wings is a non-profit organization that has been helping Americans through its medical air services. All the professional services of this organization are completely free and the medical air services are charged only for maintenance, fuel, and insurance. The professional medical air services provided such as medical staff, pilots, and supplies are completely free. Grace on Wings clearly states that the motive of its medical air services is not to maximize profits. Instead, it strives to offer quality medical care together with addressing the spiritual necessities of the patients and also their loved ones.

Grace on Wings’ Medical Air Services Don’t Cut Corners to Keep it Cheap

The medical air services offered by the charitable organization are fully insured and licensed. Grace on Wings is FAA certified as an air ambulance under part 135 of 14CFR. The medical air services offered too are state-of-the-art, complete with facilities like cardiac monitor and defibrillator, oxygen, suction, impact portable vent, airway equipment, customized stretchers, and ACLs medications among others. The aircraft used to provide medical air services is a Mitsubishi MU-2 that has been customized for the very purpose of carrying patients safely. The medical air services provided too are at par with any commercial air ambulance services as it allows for accompaniment of loved ones, carrying of personal luggage and standard practices of coordination with medical facilities, including bed to bed services.

400 Ropes: A Unique Initiative to Support the Medical Air Services Financially

If you are wondering how the charitable medical air services offered by Grace of Wings are financed, it is purely through donations. The organization has come up with a concept it calls “400 Ropes.” The aim here is to get support of 400 recurring donors each month who pledge a minimum amount of $25 to support the medical air services. Grace on Wings updates these members with all the developments within the organization and the amount goes to help the needy through medical air services. The organization also accepts one-time donations. People can donate online as well as through mails.

Old Bras are Fueling this Air Ambulance Service in Bristol

Bristol is a city in the UK with a population of over 400 thousand and over 1 million people in the Larger Urban Zone. With this huge population, it is not surprising that medical emergencies crop up frequently without warning. Great Western Air Ambulance Charity or GWAAC is an organization that has been helping the residents in the region with its air ambulance service. Its air ambulance service is a part of the 999 regional emergency response. The admirable aspect of their air ambulance service is that it is run solely on the contributions by the general public and receives no government funding at all. It goes without saying that running an efficient air ambulance service without adequate financial support is not a small feat. However, the organization has come up with an ingenious way to raise finances – collecting old bras!

How are Bras Funding the Air Ambulance Service?

GWAAC has tied up with Sainsbury’s in Ashton and have given a call to the general public to flush their wardrobes of all their old and worn out bras. In turn, these bras are recycled and sold. Of course, the proceeds directly go to the charity’s air ambulance service. The organization’s air ambulance service is operational throughout the year and round the clock. It is also perhaps the youngest air ambulance service in the country. Their air ambulance service is already catering to about 100 emergencies a month. The organization has even upgraded its air ambulance service with the addition of an EC135 chopper.

The Air Ambulance Service is receiving an Overwhelming Response

The manager of fundraising for GWAAC, Emma Carter, revealed that the organization is delighted by the response they are getting. Arrangements have been made by the organization to hand over used bras at the customer service counters in Sainsbury’s and the initiative would go on until October 9. The initiative is a standing ode to the phrase “where there is a will, there is a way.”

Holiday Retreat Blowing Hole in Your Pocket by (mis)using Medical Flights?

Put-in-Bay is a popular summer destination for Clevelanders in search of fun and relaxation. The island is adequately equipped with 14 paramedics with at least one paramedic being available round the clock throughout the year. The island does not have a dedicated hospital. It relies on well-equipped ambulances and medical flights. However, an investigation conducted by a news agency recently pointed out that all was not well with the frequency of medical “emergencies” that demanded medical flights here.

The Needle of Suspicion Points to Use of Medical Flights

The call logs of Put-in-Bay police dept. in conjunction with Ottawa County were looked into and showed that patients were being flow through medical flights even in not-so-urgent cases. Some were flown in on medical flights for reasons such as stomachache, intoxication, allergic reactions, and anxiety attacks. In one case, it was for a thumb laceration. The use of medical flights was being made in spite of ferries being in place for the purpose. If the allegations hold water, it means that people and insurance companies were being forced to pay huge amounts unnecessarily.

The Reasons Being Given for Use of Medical Flights

The manager of emergency medical service revealed that they cannot afford to have a medical staff with the patient for over an hour, leaving them short-staffed. He further said that medical flights become necessary to quickly get the paramedic personnel back in order to stay adequately staffed. He also revealed that, at a given time, they only have four medical personnel working during the weekend which comes down to two during weekdays. The operator of the medical flights said that they have been helping patients for over 33 years and are absolutely certain that the medical flights are being used where necessary.

Diverse Opinions on Use of Medical Flights

The average cost of medical flights is about 10 thousand dollars and a huge bill like this is certainly unnecessary ‘if’ the service is being used unnecessarily. Some medical professionals questioned why an urgent care facility has not been established in the island still. Others questioned the unnecessary use of resources for ‘trivial’ reasons. Whatever the reality, knowing the facts allows the tourists to take informed decisions.

The Story of Nigeria’s First Medical Air Transport Service

It all started when Ola Orekunrin’s sister, a 12-year-old, was travelling in West Africa and needed urgent medical attention due to sickle cell anemia. Unable to find a suitable medical facility in the vicinity, they tried hiring a medical air transport service but were left in dismay when they learnt there was none in the whole of West Africa. The only medical air transport service they could find was in South Africa. Unfortunately, the activation of medical air transport itself took over 12 hours, which was too late for the little girl and she died in these tragic circumstances. The incident changed the life of Ola Orekunrin who was, at the time, studying to be a medical doctor in the United Kingdom.

Medical Air Transport Service was Ola Orekunrin’s Answer

Ola had decided on taking the challenges of healthcare in Nigeria head-on after the family tragedy. Soon, she combined her skills as a doctor and an entrepreneur to start Nigeria’s first medical air transport company and named it Flying Doctors Nigeria. She today is a helicopter pilot herself. Her medical air transport company has been serving several victims throughout the region including the industrial workers in the oil and gas realm.

In a country where getting adequate medical attention takes anywhere from three to four days, Ola Orekunrin’s medical air transport service is changing the face of health care access. Moreover, carrying patients on an aircraft means avoiding bad roads and even armed robbers who throng some of the Nigerian streets at night.

Ola’s Medical Air Transport Company has Accomplished a Lot

Ola Orekunrin’s Flying Doctors Nigeria has so far rescued over 500 patients in a span of three years. The company today owns a fleet of aircrafts that include both airplanes and choppers. The entrepreneur said that her medical air transport company has even rescued people from bomb blast injuries, gunshot injuries, and traffic accidents, to name a few.

A Bit About the Founder of the Medical Air Transport Company

Ola Orekunrin has recently been named Young Global Leader by the prestigious World Economic Forum and it is no small feat, especially considering that she is just 27. She was born in England and grew up in a foster home in Lowestoft. She graduated as a doctor from University of York at 21 and moved to Japan on a scholarship program for research on regenerative medicine.

Ultimately, however, she shunned lucrative opportunities in Europe and moved to Africa so that she can reach the needy masses of the region. Ola Orekunrin continues to surge ahead tacking with the red tape and the bureaucracy of the region. Supporting her medical air transport business, which is pretty expensive in Nigeria when compared to other parts of the world, has not been easy but she is definitely a winner.

The Focus Shifts on Medical Air Transportation Safety

Aircrafts that are meant to save lives sometimes go down and end up taking lives away. Take for instance the recent New Mexico medical air transportation disaster. It is always a tragedy of epic proportions when patients and people on humanitarian endeavors lose their lives. It must be taken into consideration that most air ambulance crashes happen in difficult situations with little resources to organize the flights properly. Helicopter crashes have been of particular concern. An estimated 139 medical air transportation vehicles have crashed over the past 10 years and snuffing the lives of about 130 individuals including patients and crew members. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now stepped in.

What is FAA Proposing for Medical Air Transportation Safety

The FAA has come up with specific guidelines for medical air transportation helicopter safety. It has proposed setting up of ground warning systems that can communicate effectively with the choppers of any impending danger. The FAA has also proposed placing restrictions on flight time and crew rest. Often, during crisis, the crew members are forced to stretch their work hours on humanitarian grounds. The FAA is planning on putting a stop to this. Further, it has proposed to set up centers in order to monitor weather and also track flights. Also, programs would be set up to analyze flight risks.

Expert Opinion on FAA’s Medical Air Transportation Safety Guidelines

 Gary C. Robb, who is the author of “Helicopter Crash Litigation”, opined that the guidelines are a positive move towards medical air transportation safety and that there would certainly be fewer accidents in the future. However, he also added the guidelines have failed to take note of the fact that most difficulty is faced by medical air transportation helicopters at night. He drew attention to the fact that “night vision” goggles are of extreme importance here.

The organization that represents Med Evac helicopter operators issued a statement saying that it was yet to carefully review the FAA’s air transportation safety proposal and withheld its comment. The FAA has estimated that the new rules would cost the air ambulance industry about 136 million dollars over the next 10 years. However, one cannot estimate how many lives this move would save.

The World is Looking at Air Ambulances to Contain Ebola

In a recent effort to contain the deadly Ebola virus, the Liberian government has purchased four additional air ambulances and one of these air ambulances would join the country’s fleet soon. This news was made public by government representative Saah Joseph recently.

The air ambulances are among the many efforts by the government to contain the virus. Other efforts have included betterment of ground ambulance services and medical supplies. The air ambulances would enable the response teams to respond to emergency calls in a more efficient manner. The air ambulances would be employed in high-risk areas such as Lofa. One major advantage of air ambulances is that the people suffering from the viral attack can be effectively quarantined from the general public during transport.

Air Ambulances have Played a Major Role during the Crisis

It is believed that the number of patients who have been evacuated due to Ebola exposure have not fully been disclosed yet. It is said that the State Department has contracted private air ambulances for this job. According to the VP of Phoenix Air Group, in most of the instances, it is mere exposure and not actually the presence of disease that warrants action.

He also expressed his inability to disclose the actual number of evacuation as there are restrictions in place by the State Department. However, one thing is clear – air ambulances are playing a major role in containing the spread of Ebola virus. Phoenix Air has conducted about 10 missions related to Ebola in the past few weeks. The company has been widely using F-313 for this purpose. These air ambulances can carry two Ebola patients at a time. The aircraft has been designed to keep the crew uninfected during the approximately 12-hour long flight.

Air Ambulances have Been Whisking American Ebola Patients in West Africa

We have been hearing news about air ambulances carrying patients to different parts of the United States every now and then. Even though the affected numbers have been nothing big, the evacuations have been comparatively quite huge. Air Ambulances have given medical care its global reach in the true sense. The Ebola scare has been a medium that has highlighted this fact.

Wrong Fuel Guides Medical Flight to Doom in New Mexico

Call it ill fate or a case of extreme negligence. A medical flight operated by Southwest Aviation, Inc., recently crashed killing all 4 people aboard. The aircraft was owned by Elite Medical Air Transport. The medical flight was carrying one patient and three crew members. According to the federal safety investigators, the reason might have been the wrong fuel used during by the medical flight. The preliminary investigation has revealed that the medical flight was fuelled with jet fuel in the place of aviation gasoline at the Las Cruces airport.

Sequence of Events before the Crash of the Medical Flight

The medical flight was on its way to Phoenix. It has been reported that the dispatcher was contacted by one of the crew members aboard the unlucky medical flight. The contact was made via satellite telephone informing that the medical flight was on its way back as smoke was seen emanating from the right engine. The airplane had been flying at low altitude when it crashed and immediately turned into a ball of flame.

Who were Onboard the Medical Flight?

The people aboard have been identified as Fredrick Green who was the patient. Apart from him, Freddy Martinez, the pilot; Tauren Summers, the flight attendant; and Monica Chavez, the nurse were also killed. All the crew members hailed from El Paso while the patient was from Phoenix. The patient had been undergoing radiation treatment for sometime after a surgery for brain tumor and had taken the medical flight in connection with this ongoing treatment.

How Did Wrong Fuel Make its Way to the Medical Flight?

The possibility of wrong fuel making its way to the medical flight was first spotted by National Transportation Safety Board during its initial investigation. The team that reached the spot a day after the mishap immediately reported having smelt jet fuel instead of aviation gasoline. Further investigation revealed that the pilot, through the cockpit, had instructed the airport staff to fill the medical flight up with 40 gallons of fuel. The pilot had reportedly even helped the staff to close the fuel caps and had eventually gone on to sign the machine-printed fuel ticket.

The investigating agency, airport and medical flight operator declined to comment any further pending deeper investigation.

Rigby Group Acquires Capital Air Charter Air Ambulance Service

Capital Air Charter which is the largest air ambulance service provider in the Southwest was acquired by the Rigby group on the 27th of August this year. Capital Air Charter is also referred to as Capital Air Ambulance. Apart from medical repatriation, the company is also involved in urgent freight services, as well as private and corporate chartered flight services. It is widely believed that the acquisition will take Capital Air to new heights in the air ambulance service world.

The Move is Significant for the Air Ambulance Service Sector

The experience that Capital Air Charter brings along will be of paramount value to this union. With over two decades of experience, the company is among the pioneers in the air ambulance service industry. On the other hand, Rigby boasts in its portfolio the prestigious British International Helicopters as well as Exeter Airport. Industry experts are of the opinion that, with the combined resources, Capital Air Charter will easily be able to extend its market share and emerge as a major player in the air ambulance service industry.

What the Top Officials of Both Companies Had to Say

The MD of Capital Air Charter who is also the chief pilot of the company opined that being a part of Rigby, the company would now be able to reach business frontiers that were previously impossible. He also added that the organization would be able to reach its real potential now.

Sir Peter Rigby who is the CEO and chairman of Rigby Group was forthcoming in welcoming the team of Capital Air Charter onboard. He further recognized the fact that Capital Air Charter has had a phenomenal growth since its inception about 23 years ago.

The company was found on a kitchen table and has gone on to expand its services to Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man. The fixed-wing fleet of Capital Air Charter is comprised of 3 King Air Turboprop aircrafts and five Piper Chieftains.

The industry experts in the air ambulance service field would definitely keep a close watch on this new development.

The 2014 ITIJ Industry Award Nominations are Out

It’s that time of the year again when the providers of global medical travel are recognized and rewarded. Launched in the year 1999 ITIJ or International Travel & Health Insurance Journal has been publishing all that one needs to know about global travel insurance industry covering some of the hottest topics. The journal also covers news and trends that pertain to the air ambulance industry. The ITIJ Industry award is counted among the most prestigious ones. It recognizes the most outstanding company out of the select few who get nominated after a stringent and transparent selection process. The winner is chosen through a combination of subscriber votes and a panel of judges.

Big Q: Who will be the Air Ambulance Company of the Year?

Although there are some big names that have made their way into the nominations, it is widely believed that REVA Air Ambulance would take away the coveted trophy this year. Having missed the award by a whisker in 2012 after having been nominated, REVA Air Ambulance seems to be the frontrunner this year. The company is the largest in North America when it comes to medical transportation and fixed-wing air ambulance services. Other nominations in the category have been CEGA Air Ambulance and AMREF Flying Doctors.

ITIJ Industry Award is the Ultimate Recognition in Air Ambulance Sector

Since the year 2002, the ITIJ Industry Awards have consistently recognized service quality, achievement and innovation worldwide. The ITIJ Industry Award recognizes service providers in nine different categories for outstanding contribution in the field of health insurance industry and global travel. Last year, the ceremony was held in Vienna, Austria. Tyrol Air Ambulance had bagged the Air Ambulance Provider of the Year award but has failed to make it to the nominations this year.

ITIJ Industry Award this Year

The voting is closed at the current time. The award ceremony would be held in Venice on the 13th of November, which is also the closing night of International Travel and Health Insurance Conference. Updates can be got live through an internet linkup that ITIJ would provide. You can also get updates on twitter through the trend #ITIJAwards.

From Mink Ranch to Air Ambulance Services Company

All that Lisa Skroder had to her credit was being “Miss Langley” in 1985. However, today, Lisa has a whole new identity as she heads air ambulance services by the name Trinity Air Ambulance International. This gritty woman has had to face ridicule from competitors for being Miss Langley but has remained unaffected by such underhand comments. The woman, who is also a qualified acute care nurse practitioner, has maintained her unflinching demeanor.

Skroder is Looking at Expanding Her Air Ambulance Services

While Skroder’s air ambulance services have been based in Fort Lauderdale, she is now looking at expansion to Canada. During her visit to the family house this past summer, she made it a point to meet the who’s who in the aviation sector to chalk out an action plan for the purpose. In the corporate world of air ambulance services, Skroder is running it as a family business with the aid of her siblings. Together they have managed to maintain a clean record with zero crashes, lawsuits and accidents.

It Has Been Tough Entering the Air Ambulance Services Market

The company saw its humble beginnings in 1999 with Skroder’s mother financing her primarily through her credit card to the tune of about 50 thousand dollars. It was a tough task trying to get flight charters and she is reported to have approached about 30 firms in total initially. Finally, Skroder ended up having her own airplane and pilot. Looking back, she says she is glad that the firms refused to help her.

The Entry into the Air Ambulance Services Sector was a Confident One

Having the academic credentials for the role, Skroder never had a doubt that she would be successful. Even though she was born in a mink ranch in Langley, she had worked in the air ambulance services field before and was knowledgeable about the nitty-gritty of the sector. The company today employs a crew that is 35-member strong along with 7 pilots. It has been seeing a 10% growth with revenues running into 7 figures. Skroder says that her aim is to cover all of North and South America.