Luxembourg, March 2015 - Middle/end of 2014 there were many press publications and a lot of fear about EBOLA outbreaks in Europe. The numbers of EBOLA victims and the numbers of people infected with the EBOLA Virus in Africa were rising on a daily scale.
There was one hotspot in western Africa concerning the three countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and there was another hotspot in sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous country Nigeria (mostly in and around Lagos).
So EAA was contacted by a German company with business activities in Nigeria if we were willing and able to transport an expatriate from Abuja (the capital of Nigeria) to a specialised Hospital in Germany.
Later we heard that the transport of the expatriate had been refused before by another provider of ambulance flights.
After the usual preparations of getting the rights and permits for overflight and landing in several African countries we headed on to Africa. From Luxembourg Findel we flew four hours down to Adrar (Algerian Sahara desert) for a fuel stop and then we continued on three and a half more hours to Lome in Togo for an overnight.
The next morning we flew under two hours from Lome to Abuja, where the patient and his medical crew were already waiting for us at the airport.
During an assignment a heavy mechanical part had fallen onto both legs of the expatriate. When the heavy steel had been lifted off the legs, there were several wounds and broken bones in both legs and the local medical staff took first care of him. Luckily there where no further traumas but the legs.
So we met the patient with severe wounds and fractures at both legs who was otherwise in good health. The person had no fever or elevated body temperature and had not been or had had contact with persons affected or infected by the EBOLA Virus.
There had been no cases of EBOLA until then in the Abuja area, whereas in Lagos, the biggest city of Nigeria and of sub-Saharan Africa (21 Million inhabitants) there had been some sort of epidemic.
The patient could eat and drink, was awake, clear and conscious and was looking forward to be transferred to a German Trauma Centre Clinic. The patient’s circulation was stable, and there were no signs of sickness or disease other than the wounded legs.
The patient was loaded aboard our flying ICU Learjet 45XR and connected to the ICU monitoring of all vital signs.
Then we headed due north. In the Sahara we refuelled again in Hassi Mesaoud after three and a half hours of flight in southern Algeria. Then we flew on four more hours to Leipzig Airport in East Germany and from there we rode in a local ambulance car to the Clinic, one of the oldest Trauma and Accident Hospitals in the world.
The patient was accompanied into the Clinic and handed over to the local Clinic staff.
The patient was operated on and the german surgeons could save both legs due to the immediate reaction of EAA to the request for an evacuation from a potential Ebola Region.
Today I received the latest informations concerning the patient, who is recovering and looking forward to pick up work soon again.
Dr. Mark Schorr
European Air Ambulance