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The Role of Aeromedical Transportation in Global Disaster Health Care

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2012


There are several unique aspects of aeromedical transportation that render it vital to the overall management of disaster emergencies. Valuable time can be saved in moving medical expertise, supplies, and equipment into the disaster area as well as in moving victims out of the hazardous area quickly and in large numbers. Chaotic ground traffic at and near the disaster scene as well as environmental obstacles en route often may be avoided. Large numbers of disaster victims can be cared for efficiently en route by proportionately fewer health care personnel than is possible using traditional land carriers due to the concentration of many patients in one aircraft. Patients with similar injuries (e.g., burns) can be routed to and concentrated in centralized institutions that specialize in the care of those specific injuries. The plans for execution of the foregoing should include the use of military troop-transport aircraft that may be converted easily for patient transport. Also, military personnel should be involved, as they are part of a highly organized structure that can be mobilized more easily and swiftly than can most civilian organizations. The United States Air Force aeromedical evacuation policies and management structure is reviewed with attention directed toward additions and adaptations of this system needed to allow it to serve global disaster response. Such a highly evolved system will require a governing body with global reach for purposes of coordination and management. The resources for such a system currently exist but such an organization has yet to be formed.

Brief Report
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 1990

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