Helicopter ambulance – a step nearer Posted July 18, 2013 by Adrian Nance


A helicopter ambulance is a really important part of health care.  Especially when access is difficult.  It helps really ill people get faster care.  This can also be very important after a disaster.  And Wings Like Eagles is committed to life saving – see our Purpose.   This sort of life saving is called medical evacuation or MEDEVAC.

Some Bell Jet Rangers can be helicopter ambulances.   The one in South Africa can. It is owned by our affiliate.

What is a helicopter ambulance?

A helicopter ambulance can move medical patients safely and quickly. It has special equipment or kit.

A helicopter ambulance capability

A helicopter ambulance is not just the helicopter.

It needs a stretcher – see the picture.  This needs to be light.  So more life saving kit can be carried.  It needs to be strong.  Then heavier patients can be lifted safely.  It also needs to be authorized for flight – so it costs a bit.  It may not look it – but it does!

A helicopter ambulance is also especially fitted.  Key life saving kit must be safe in flight.  Heart monitoring equipment may be needed.  Then the patient’s health can be closely monitored.  A defibrillator may be fitted.  Then if the heart stops it can be restarted.  An oxygen cylinder may be needed.  This helps if breathing becomes difficult.  All this kit need to be checked to make sure they do not interfere with the helicopter’s electronics equipment.

Also pilots needs to fly differently in a helicopter ambulance.  They need to be quick, but safe.  Then they can help seize any life saving opportunity.  Some medical conditions can be affected by vibration or by altitude.  So the pilot needs to talk to the paramedic.  The pilot also needs to pick places to land so that the overall transit time is low.

A helicopter ambulance needs an airborne paramedic.  These people are rare.  This specialist talks to the pilot about embarking the patient.  This specialist is the one who operates the life saving equipment in flight.  This specialist does the handover of the patient to the hospital experts on arrival.

This sort of work is really important.  Our affiliate is investing in making the helicopter able to realize its potential.

Today’s preliminary inspection of the helicopter ambulance capability is a big step nearer.

Lots of organisations operate helicopter ambulances in South Africa.  If you want to help us make this sort of thing available after disasters please think about Giving to us.  You can make a one off gift, or regular donations or even give in your will.