European Air Ambulance is sometimes called upon to make patient transfers over extremely long distances. Just such a case was presented when a client requested the transfer of a patient from Korea to the UK.
When a client contacted European Air Ambulance in March 2015 with a request to transfer a patient from Seoul in South Korea to the United Kingdom, EAA’s mission control centre immediately started calculating the flight path and logistics required for such a long-distance operation. The flight would require two crews, one already positioned in Novosibirsk in Siberia for a take over on the return leg from Seoul. This would also require all crew to be in possession of valid Russian multi-entry visas.
EAA’s response to the client was to position aircraft and offer a flight five days after the initial request was made. EAA received a full medical report from the hospital in Seoul just 30 minutes after the mission was confirmed. The patient, who had been travelling in Korea, had been admitted to hospital in several days prior to the request suffering from a myocardial infarction. His condition though serious was stable and fit to fly.
Mission control centre then launched requests via third parties to obtain appropriate overflight permits for Belarus, Russia and China as well as landing permits for Russia, Korea, Mongolia and the UK, all of which arrived within 36 hours.
Two days before the patient transfer, EAA’s Lear Jet 45XR air ambulance headed out of Luxembourg for an overnight stop in Novosibirsk via a fuel stop in Moscow. One crew, made up of a pilot, co-pilot, doctor and flight nurse, then went on to Seoul via Irkutsk, and overnighted in the Korean capital before the patient pick up the next day. As reported by the medical crew in Seoul, the patient was stable under medication and was placed on a respirator and under mild sedation in the air ambulance. The air ambulance returned to Novosibirsk via a fuel stop in Ulumbator in Mongolia.
The fresh crew that had been resting in Novosibirsk, then took over the aircraft and flew to the UK via Nizhny Novgorod. The patient remained sedated and showed no signs of stress reaction.
The mission experienced some bad weather and the crew soon realized that by the time the Lear Jet 45XR would reach its scheduled airport in the UK it would be closed. An alternate landing airport was quickly found, requiring just a 15 minute longer ambulance transfer to the destination hospital. The patient was handed over in stable condition and even showed signs of respiratory improvement by the time he was taken on the final leg of his long journey to the UK hospital.