Aeromedical services in Singapore.
Aeromedical service is a broad term covering the usage of a helicopter, or aeroplane, to move patients and their relatives if possible to and from health-care facilities and accident scenes. The medical experts flying on these aircrafts provide extensive pre-hospital and emergency and critical care to different kind of patients during the evacuation and repatriation of a patient in the helicopter and jet aircraft or propeller aircraft.
The usage of air transport to provide medical evacuation started long back to evacuate the soldiers on the battlefield in World War I, and it continued to be used during the Vietnam wars and Korean wars. Off-late, these especially designed aircraft began to be used for the for the evacuation of civilian and for emergency medical assistance. Helicopters can be of great help as they can bring specialist care to the scene of the accident and transport patients to specialist hospitals, especially for major trauma cases. Fixed-wing aircraft are used during transportation of patients to long-distance.
In some remote areas, where there is non-availability of medical services, the Aeromedical service delivers non-emergency health-care such as general practitioner appointments.
Air medical services have a distinct advantage for major trauma injured patients. These patients have to be transferred as quickly as possible to a specialist trauma center. The advantage of Aeromedical services can travel faster and they can move over a wider coverage area than a land ambulance can travel. Thus these services can be particularly useful in the remotely located, sparsely populated rural area.
Also the medical experts, those who travel in the aircraft can provide immediate medical treatment at the scene of the trauma before they can reach the medical center. They can also offer critical care on the flight when transporting patients from local hospitals to trauma centers.
The crew members are trained and have to undergo a rigorous training before they join the team as safety is a significant factor to be considered to fly the patient and also the safety of the crew members is paramount. The team must be trained to take immediate and logical decisions based on air traffic conditions, weather, and distance that has to be covered to fly the patient to the destination.
Earlier when this kind of services started operating, people have questioned the safety related to air medical services. Safety concerns associated with flying the aircraft in bad weather, flying during night, flying from war hit countries, etc. was a concern. But as time evolved many regulations and protocols fall in place and things fell in place with better understanding, experience, and knowledge about the different aspects of these services. Today there are many service provider who are providing these services. But while choosing the best services, one has to select the service provider which operates internationally across, accessible 24*7 and have years of experience handling patient repatriation cases. In some circumstances, the aircraft may be used for searching missing or wanted people, mainly this is the case while flying soldiers safely from war zones or maybe civilians from places whereby any emergency has occurred.
The air ambulance is specially designed and like ground ambulances, air ambulances are equipped with the latest medical equipment which is vital for monitoring and treating injured or critical patients. Common equipment for air ambulances includes CPR equipment, stretchers, medications, ventilators, ECGs, and monitoring units.
Air Traffic Control (ATC) grants special permission to air ambulance flights, and as a ground ambulance they use lights and a siren, only when they are actively operating and have a patient on board. When this happens, the Air Traffic authorities take the call and give priority for landing and take off in the air and on the ground.
Aircraft which carried trained medical staff and equipped air ambulance can provide medical care in flight. Whereas air ambulance those are not non-medically equipped and staffed, simply transport patients without a care in flight. Military organizations and NATO refer to the former as medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and to the latter as casualty evacuation (CASEVAC).
Hi-Flying Aeromedical services based in India provide their services globally. Patient transportation is done on Commercial as well as Charter flights to different countries worldwide.
Hi- Flying began its service in the year 1996. In Singapore they are vigilantly active and a patient can be repatriated by Air from Singapore to destinations like the United Kingdom, Middle East, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, all the Emirates - Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, , Bahrain and other Gulf countries.
Based on the severity of the case they decide on the medical evacuation plan. In case of non-emergency, a patient can be transported on commercial airlines and they have several tie-ups with airlines like Singapore Airlines, Gulf Air, Saudia, Thai Airways, Emirates airlines, Air India, Air China, Philippines Air on Business class, First class and even on Stretcher bound flights.
Air Ambulance charter flights are mostly advised for critical patients who need a full medical team on charter flights to travel from Singapore to different destinations in the world.
The aircrafts used for Air Ambulance charter flights -
The aircraft are fully equipped with stretcher, oxygen and lifesaving medical equipment including cardiac monitors, pulse oximeters, ventilators, suction machine, BIPAP, blood glucose monitoring devices and have a medical escort team comprising doctor, nurses, and paramedics to accompany the patient.
The clients of Hi-Flying are not just individuals, but they have tie-ups with hospitals, corporate house, Insurance companies, and assistance companies.
During emergencies like floods, road accidents, rail accidents, and many such incidences Hi-Flying team have provided their expert medical emergency services. The list is long of the number of cases handled by their side. Hi-Flying has catered its services to many countries in the south-east Asian countries, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. Since many expats reside in the neighboring countries of India particularly Singapore, there have been many medical cases whereby these people look forward to reaching their home countries for treatment, or they expatriate their relatives to Singapore where they reside in case someone has some medical emergency or maybe a planned medical treatment in a country like Singapore.
The medical facility is world-class in Singapore. Also, the number of specialized hospitals are enormous, and the doctor's and medical staff are well qualified. European, US and many developed countries populace prefer to travel to Singapore as the cost of treatment reduces by almost 50% for them. Also, people from the middle-east and the south-east nations including the Asian countries whereby the masses can afford to shell money for quality treatment prefer to travel to Singapore. Some of the minor surgeries are also treated as out-patient cases which helps the patient and the family members to be at ease and some also combine their holidays along with their treatment as Singapore is a very tourist friendly country. HI-Flying Aero-medical services have handled several repatriation cases of patients to Singapore from the countries throughout the world. For availing their services, the procedure is simple, and the administrative staff ensures maximum support to the family so that they don't have to struggle and run from pillar to post to get the documentation work done. Their efficient team also handles the visa procedure, insurance claim support if required.