US-based Air Ambulance Worldwide started as a commercial medical escort company and broker before obtaining its aircraft operating certificate in 2005. The company initially operated a Piper Navajo (unpressurised aircraft) for short-haul air ambulance missions, and then purchased a Piaggio P-180. Air Ambulance Worldwide progressed to operating three Lear 35 jets and one Lear 55 from its Florida base, as well as two Citation jets situated in Washington, Pennsylvania at AeroNational (a subsidiary operation). Air Ambulance Worldwide owns and operates its own aircraft that are managed by its affiliate Air GATO Enterprises. Air GATO owns and operates the Part 135 direct air carrier certificate. This experience and reach allows them to fly worldwide, and qualify operating partners. Air Ambulance Worldwide and Air GATO Enterprises have stringent requirements that all operators must meet in order to be accepted and placed on their ‘Qualified Operator’ list.
Presently, Air Ambulance Worldwide provides fixed-wing air ambulance transportation services to family members, hospitals, nursing homes, medical assist companies, cost containment companies and other providers of medical care. The company provides a bedside-to-bedside air ambulance service, including offering ground transportation in both cities, as well as all co-ordination with the family.
United by devotion to patient care
Lauren Dulin said: “What my experience in the air ambulance industry has taught me is that for the majority of air ambulance companies, there is less that sets us apart than what unites us; we all share a devotion to patient care, a passion for aviation and an inexhaustible ability to overcome challenges. Air Ambulance Worldwide is determined to build on our core strengths of integrity, versatility, creativity and medical excellence. Time will tell if these precepts set us apart from others.”
The ambulance service provides all manner of missions, from paediatric flights (the service is the fixed-wing provider for Johns Hopkins / All Children’s Hospital) to bariatric transports.
“While even the best-planned air ambulance mission can have unexpected challenges, perhaps surprisingly, our most challenging mission to date was actually a commercial stretcher flight,” said Dulin. “We were approached on behalf of a teenage female patient that had been a victim of sex trafficking. Having been brought to the US from eastern Europe, she had been badly burned in a car and left for dead. We were asked to determine if she had any living relatives and secure a receiving bed in a public facility in her home country, as there were no funds to pay for private care. While coming face to face with the depravity that humankind is capable of made this an agonizing mission, we were humbled by the acts of kindness, patience and generosity by intermediaries and partners who worked with us to bring this poor soul home.”
Having the best medical equipment
To be able to perform even the most complicated and difficult missions, Air Ambulance Worldwide needs to stay on top of technological improvements. Most of those are related to upgrading medical equipment as the service’s mission profiles continue to change and expand. “Our medical leadership opted to go with the Tempus Pro Monitor – we were the first organization in North America to do so – due to its expandable capabilities like doppler / ultrasound and all-round adaptability. We have also upgraded to the latest version of the Epoc point-of-care blood analyzer for our in-flight testing,” commented Dulin.
When looking into the future, Dulin notes that Covid-19 has changed her perspective on how to plan for the next few years. “Although everything now has to be viewed through the somewhat distorting lens of Covid, our plans include surviving the pandemic, refining our service offering and adapting to the future needs of our clients. Now (more than ever), we will maintain our cautious and data-driven approach to future growth and expansion. If the recent events have taught us anything, it is that the next ten years will certainly test us in ways we have yet to envision,” she said.
When describing the core of Air Ambulance Worldwide, Dulin simply said: “Everything begins and ends with excellence in patient care.”