Definition: Defining the Meaning of Medical Evacuation & Air Ambulance
Medical evacuation: Often shortened to medevac or medivac, is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to wounded being evacuated from a battlefield, to injured patients being evacuated from the scene of an accident to receiving medical facilities, or to patients at a rural hospital requiring urgent care at a better-equipped facility using medically equipped ground vehicles (ambulances) or aircraft (air ambulances).
Air Ambulance: Air medical services is a comprehensive term covering the use of air transportation, airplane or helicopter, to move patients to and from healthcare facilities and accident scenes. Personnel provide comprehensive pre-hospital and emergency and critical care to all types of patients during aeromedical evacuation or rescue operations aboard helicopter and propeller aircraft or jet aircraft.
An air ambulance is an aircraft used for emergency medical assistance in situations where either a traditional ambulance cannot reach the scene easily or quickly enough, or the patient needs to be transported over a distance or terrain that makes air transportation the most practical transport. These and related operations are referred to as Aeromedical.
The first civilian uses of aircraft as ambulances were probably incidental.
In northern Canada, Australia, and in the Scandinavian countries, remote, sparsely populated settlements were often inaccessible by road for months at a time, or even year round.
Air ambulance crews are supplied with equipment that enables them to provide medical treatment to a critically injured or ill patient. Common equipment for air ambulances includes ventilators, medication, an ECG and monitoring unit, CPR equipment, and stretchers.
Air ambulance services, sometimes called Aeromedical Evacuation or simply Medevac, are provided by a variety of different sources in different places in the world.
There are a number of reasonable methods of differentiating types of air ambulance services. These include military/civilian models and services that are government-funded, fee-for-service, donated by a business enterprise, or funded by public donations.
In 1928 the first formal, full-time air ambulance service was established in the Australian outback. This organization became the Royal Flying Doctor Service and continues operating to the present.
In 1934, the first civil air ambulance service in Africa was established in Morocco by Marie Marvingt.
Following the end of the Second World War, the first civilian air ambulance in North America was established by the Saskatchewan government in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, which had both remote communities and great distances to consider in the provision of health care to its citizens. The Saskatchewan air ambulance service continues to be active as of 2009.
In the United Kingdom, the Scottish Ambulance Service operates two helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft twenty-four hours per day. These represent the UK's only government-funded air ambulance service.
In the United States, 1947 saw the creation of the Schaefer Air Service, the country's first air ambulance service. This service was founded by J. Walter Schaefer, of Schaefer Ambulance Service in Los Angeles, California.
Quick Facts: Air Ambulance
An air ambulance is a specially outfitted aircraft that transports injured or sick people in a medical emergency or over distances or terrain impractical for a conventional ground ambulance. These and related operations are called aeromedical. In some circumstances, the same aircraft may be used to search for missing or wanted people. Like ground ambulances, air ambulances are equipped with medical equipment vital to monitoring and treating injured or ill patients. Common equipment for air ambulances includes medications, ventilators, ECGs and monitoring units, CPR equipment, and stretchers.