Mike Brunko, Medical Director of Flight for Life and CAMTS Board Member, said his program has halted the transport of patients diagnosed with coronavirus because of the inability to protect crew and pilots from patient contact. This is especially difficult in helicopters, where the patient can’t physically be separated from the pilot.
Brunko said: “In our case, we have the added pressure of flying above 12,000 ft, with oxygen on. It is difficult to decontaminate a helicopter as opposed to an airplane or ambulance and the air flow is not as easy to control. Today, I feel, ground and fixed wing should be used, and rotor considered only for time sensitive critical patients where extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ventilation strategies are necessary. This truly is a dynamic situation which may change tomorrow.”