The following case studies reflect the diversity of our service from emergency repatriations to insurance claims.
1. INJURED FORMULA ONE DRIVER: BUDAPEST TO SAO PAULO
The brief: To transfer Formula One driver Felipe Massa from Budapest to Sao Paulo, just days after he had undergone emergency surgery for a life threatening head injury; sustained whilst qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
CEGA's response: CEGA's in-house medics, linguists and travel unit teams worked together to facilitate a successful intensive care transfer for Mr Massa. Accompanying the Ferrari driver on the thirteen hour flight from Budapest to Sao Paulo was CEGA's Dr Brian Ryan; a specialist in emergency medical care. Dr Ryan, who was joined by Mr Massa's personal doctor and a paramedic, closely monitored the patient's condition at Budapest's AEK Hospital before being satisfied that he was fit to fly, and personally ensured that the aircraft was fully equipped with the appropriate intensive care equipment. "If I had needed to carry out any emergency medical intervention during the flight, I was fully prepared to do so," said Dr Ryan. After his safe arrival in Sao Paulo, Mr Massa was transferred to the Albert Einstein hospital.
2. CRITICAL BABY: LONDON CITY TO BERLIN
The brief: To transport a critically ill baby from London City Airport to Berlin for vital treatment.
CEGA's response: Within hours of being notified, CEGA had an air ambulance waiting at London City Airport to take the baby and a team of medical escorts on the two and a half hour flight to Berlin. "Loading a sick child onto an air ambulance can be the most dangerous part of a transfer," says CEGA's Dr Tim Hammond, "but the specialist loading system of our King Air 200 aircraft enabled us to move the baby from the ambulance to the aircraft in a gentle and controlled way, with no heavy lifting or sudden movement." Once on the air ambulance, the medical escorts had plenty of space to attend to the baby and to store essential intensive care equipment. On landing in Berlin, CEGA's pilots spent two hours on the ground with the medical escorts, to ensure that the baby was safely transferred to an ambulance and then on to hospital. After several days in hospital in Berlin, the baby was brought back to the UK by CEGA's air ambulance.
3. PATIENT WITH CEREBRAL BLEEDING: PUNTA ARENAS TO MANILA
The brief: To transfer a patient, who had been treated for cerebral bleeding, from Punta Arenas in Chile to Manila in the Philippines. The transfer was carried out on behalf of a VIP client.
CEGA's response: After close consultation with the patient's treating doctor in Chile, CEGA's in-house medics satisfied themselves that he was fit to fly, whilst our specialist operations team quickly established the best route by which to transport him to hospital in Manila. This necessitated a four stage intensive care air transfer via Frankfurt and Hong Kong, each with a full medical escort; trained in emergency care. The exercise, which took several days, involved two air ambulances and two scheduled flights in the intensive care passenger transport compartment of a Lufthansa aircraft. The patient's comfort and safety were enhanced by "wing to wing" transfers between the flights, whilst road ambulances took him to and from hospital beds. The success of the operation, the longest in CEGA's history, owed much to our ability to draw on the skills of trusted partners around the world and to our successful working relationship with Lufthansa.
4. CANCER PATIENT: HONG KONG TO UK
The brief: To transfer a critically ill cancer patient from hospital in Hong Kong to hospital in the UK.
CEGA's response: CEGA's medical and operations teams implemented a finely tuned transfer, after a detailed dialogue with the treating doctor in Hong Kong had established a small window of opportunity when this seriously ill patient was fit to fly. The two leg flight home took the patient first from Hong Kong to Frankfurt, in Lufthansa's sophisticated intensive care passenger transport compartment, and then from Frankfurt to Southend in CEGA's air ambulance. The patient was moved effortlessly from one aircraft to the other by "wing to wing transfer" and carried between hospital beds and aircraft by road ambulance. Highly skilled intensive care medical escorts were on hand throughout the journey; both to offer constant on board care and to ensure that the patient arrived at the UK hospital in a safe and stable condition.
5. INJURED LANDMINE CLEARANCE WORKER: RURAL ANGOLA TO JOHANNESBURG
The brief: To transport an injured landmine clearance worker from a rural area of Angola to a hospital that offered specialist orthopaedic surgery. The patient had already been admitted to a local government facility.
CEGA's response: Set with the task of transferring this critically injured patient, CEGA drew on its extensive experience of hospitals in this area of the world and of repatriations from hostile environments. After being satisfied that the patient was fit to travel, CEGA implemented a full intensive care transfer, utilising the expertise of trusted global partners. This took the patient from a remote medical centre in Angola, by road ambulance, to a rural airfield and from there, by air ambulance, to Johannesburg. The patient was then taken to a hospital befitting his extreme condition. Throughout his journey, from hospital bed to hospital bed, he was accompanied by skilled intensive care medics and offered reassurance and regular updates in his native tongue (Portuguese). CEGA kept in close contact with his insurer, to inform them of his progress.
6. DRUGGED DIVER: HANOI
The brief: To offer a second opinion on the most suitable course of action for a foreign diver suffering from the ill effects of a drugged drink. The patient had already been admitted to a local medical clinic in Hanoi.
CEGA's response: After detailed assessments of the patient's condition, CEGA's medical and operations teams used their in depth knowledge of Hanoi to recommend a transfer to a superior local hospital. They advised against a transfer to Thailand (recommended by a third party); citing both the danger of moving the patient such a distance and the unnecessary cost of an air ambulance, when an excellent local facility was available. A road ambulance and accompanying medical crew were sent from CEGA's recommended hospital to transport the patient, who was kept fully informed of developments throughout. So effective was his care that he was soon able to return to his home country on a commercial flight, with no medical escort. CEGA had Vietnamese speakers on hand throughout the operation, should they be needed to communicate with local medical staff or to interpret information for the patient.