Luxembourg, 28 July 2015 - European Air Ambulance transported a British citizen from Birmingham to Groenigen in the Netherlands at the behest of the British health ministry. The patient was suffering from complicated tuberculosis, which proved to be resistant to multiple antibiotics.
The transport took place aboard a specially modified Learjet45, which is equipped with an Infectious Disease Module. The module was especially designed to meet European Air Ambulance protocols and can be quickly installed in the Learjet 45XR air ambulances. It was developed together with the Luxembourg government and the European Commission primarily to transport patients infected with Ebola.
The unit consists of a special low weight, ergonomic and versatile modular tent system with full EASA certification and configuration flexibility. A specialist medical team of one doctor and two nurses specialised in handling this type of transport accompanies the mission. The module allows the safe transportation of the patient while also providing comfort and operational flexibility.
The flight left Luxembourg at 10:00 local time on 7 July and arrived in Birmingham one hour and 20 minutes later. They were met by their British colleagues, who had transported the patient to the airfield by ambulance.
The EAA doctor met with his British counterpart to discuss the patient and to corroborate the information provided during a number of conference calls while the mission was being prepared.
Meanwhile, one of the nurses, under the supervision of their colleague, donned the special PPE suit required to handle patients with contagious diseases. The suit features a FFP3 filtration unit and Tychem sleeves and gloves. As tuberculosis is transmitted via air, the patient was also requested to put on an FFP3 mask and a combination suit to avoid any contact during the flight.
As part of the EAA’s mission to provide security, the patient was then placed inside the aircraft’s isolation unit, and a monitoring unit was installed to constantly measure vital signs. Additional oxygen allowed the patient to retain optimal breathing function. Once the patient was comfortably installed, the nurse was able to remove their protective clothing according to the strict guidelines set up by European Air Ambulance.
But European Air Ambulance is not only about safety. Flexibility and comfort also plays a vital role in the EAA mission and thanks to perfect communication and planning between Luxembourg and England, the patient’s luggage was able to by stowed aboard the aircraft, thus allowing him to land in Groeningen with all his personal effects. Furthermore, during the 50-minute flight the patient didn’t suffer any discomfort. Indeed, he was able to listen to music on his iPad and drink some water.
Upon arrival at Groeningen, the team was met by an ambulance and medical crew also wearing PPE protective clothing. The ÊAA doctor debriefed his Dutch colleague.
The patient thanked the EAA team for taking care of him, and also for giving him his first ever flight. The team then flew back to Luxembourg where the Infectious Disease Module was removed according to procedure.
The aircraft was then ready for standard reconfiguration and soon took off on new missions.