Other Side of the Medevac Coin: Pay For Your Own

 - April 16, 2008, 10:39 AM

Since 1992 Medic’Air International of Paris has been providing medical assistance with air-ambulance flights and medical escorts on airlines worldwide. The company is an independent medical provider created by emergency physicians.

Medic’Air has 30 medical doctors on call, including emergency physicians, anesthesiologists and intensive-care doctors, and 40 registered nurses working in emergency departments and intensive-care units at Parisian university hospitals. All medical personnel speak French and English and often a third language such as Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish.

If a patient is stable and there are good airline connection flights from the point of origin to destination, the company will provide the necessary medical personnel to accompany the patient. If a patient’s status is critical, it will arrange for private air transport and a team of appropriate medical personnel.

Though Medic’Air does not operate its own aircraft, it has a wide array of dedicated medical-configured aircraft available, including a Eurocopter AS 355; Cheyenne II; King Air 90, 200 and 350; Merlin III; Corvette; Falcon 10, 50 and 900; and an Airbus ACJ.

The company also offers several options:

The “Combi-Evac” option is an air-ambulance flight and a commercial flight with a “wing-to-wing” transfer. This option is often used to transport a patient with a severe but stable pathology from an area with an airport unsuitable for larger aircraft to a launch point for a long-distance trip. An air-ambulance is used for the shorter part of the trip and a commercial flight for the longer portion.

The “Remote-Evac” option is for evacuating patients from remote areas. The medical team leaves Paris on a long-range jet with medical equipment, lands as close as possible to the patient’s location, then takes a local aircraft able to land at a smaller airport or a helicopter if there is no airport available. The patient is extracted, taken to the larger aircraft and then to the final destination.

A “Hand Over-Evac” is similar to a “Remote Evac,” except that the medical team is provided by the short air-ambulance flight provider. The patient is evacuated by a local medical team and air-ambulance operator to a meeting place where a Medic’Air medical team takes over for the long-distance flight to the final destination.

Finally, the “Rescue-Evac” is geared to the patient who needs an urgent rescue but is in an isolated zone with no capability for an aircraft to land. Medical staff can be parachuted in to assess and stabilize the patient while another rescue team arrives as soon as possible by ground transportation.

Medic’Air personnel emphasize that every situation is different and the cost will vary, but in general an air-ambulance ride from Europe to the U.S. with a medical team and equipment will cost between $70,800 and $85,000. An airline medical escort for a Europe-to-U.S. trip is approximately $17,000, which includes a doctor, air fare, stretcher, medical equipment and ambulance at the departure and arrival points.

An air-ambulance flight from Algeria to Paris, including medical team and medical equipment, would be approximately $15,000, while one from Central Africa to Paris would exceed $47,000.

For a more common “Combi-Evac” from a European point to a city in the U.S. the tab will come to about $25,000.