Below are some of the more frequently asked questions posed to us from the patients, their families and hospital personnel that we interact with on a daily basis.
Q: Can Aero Med Express transport a wheelchair with the patient on the medical jet?
A: Yes. We can transport a wheelchair as long as it is collapsable. If it is the type that folds and fits in the trunk of a car, it will fit in the plane. We realize that many of our patients rely solely on their wheelchair in their everyday activities. Some are even customized to the patient and not easily substituted when a patient moves to another location. To maintain the continuity of their care, we make every effort to accomodate the wheelchairs for all who travel with us.
Q: How many bags can accompany the patient and passengers on the air ambulance?
A: We allow 1 medium suitcase and a hang up bag per person, including the patient. Purses and laptop bags will also be allowed as carry on luggage when riding on our medical jet. Large bags are not allowed as they do not fit within our allotted luggage area located in the exterior baggage area. Most of the medium size bags are in the 25 pound range which works well for our air ambulance.
Q: How many passengers can accompany the patient on the air ambulance?
A: We usually allow 1-2 family members with each patient. However, there may be times that this is not possible based on the type of equipment and medical staffing needed for the patient. The final decision of just how many passengers we will allow is determined after our medical coordinator completes the review of the patient’s condition and assigns the staffing and medical equipment needed to safely transport the patient. Special considerations are taken when it comes to our pediatric/neonatal patients.
Q: Can the passengers ride in the ground ambulance with the patient to and from the hospital?
A: Yes. Generally, the ground ambulances only allow 1 person to ride and that person must be seated in the front passenger seat and secured with a seat belt. If there is more than one passenger, we will have another form of transportation prearranged for that passenger upon landing.
Q: Does Aero Med Express arrange the ground ambulances on both ends of the air ambulance flight?
A: Yes. We consider it part of our responsibility to arrange all ground transporation services involved with any air ambulance flight whether its a ground ambulance, cab, limo or rental car. We prefer to be responsible for these arrangements to ensure the ground services are in place prior to our aircraft landing or taking off. In many cases, there are more than one place for our plane to park at any given airport across the country and it's easy for ground ambulances or even family members to be sitting at wrong area of the airport.
Q: My relative/friend is a nurse/doctor. Can they act as medical personnel on the air ambulance flight?
A: No. Unfortunately, that is not allowed due to federal and state regulations. However, we welcome them as an important base of knowledge when accompanying the patient on any flight. In many cases, the patient feels more comfortable having their loved one nearby which only ensures a better flight for the patient which is our ultimate goal. While our preflight medical evaluations are extensive on all our patients, those who have knowledge of the patients’ history are a valuable tool that we appreciate and have found very useful during flight.
Q: How many pilots are on each Aero Med Express flight?
A: All Aero Med Express flights are staffed by two Airline Transport (ATP) rated pilotes who receive recurrent simulator based training by Flight Safety International. Flight Safety International has been our training partner for the last 17 years.
Q: Are air ambulance services regulated by the federal government?
A: Yes. All aircraft operators must hold a current Air Carrier Operating Certificate per Federal Aviation regulations. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) governs not only the operation of any aircraft, but also the installation of the stretcher and other equipment. Aero Med Express has maintained an Air Carrier Operating Certificate since March of 1979.
Q: Is Aero Med Express a provider or a broker?
A: Aero Med Express is a provider who owns and operates our own aircraft. All medical staff are employed by Aero Med Express and trained for the aeromedical environment in which they operate. We do not "broker" our aircraft to other sources. This has been our business model for over 37 years and we feel our patients appreciate the fact that they are in our hands and that the actual operator controls all aspects of the transport.