Combined fixed-wing and rotary experience gives EAA medics advantages

Luxembourg European Air Ambulance fleet

European Air Ambulance (EAA) performs fixed-wing air ambulance transfers around the world using its fleet of Learjets, transporting critical patients to higher levels of care on long-distance flights. In addition, however, the company also operates three rescue helicopters in Luxembourg and Germany, and the medics working across both platforms gain experience that is valuable to patients no matter which aircraft they are on.

The company told AirMed&Rescue: “Transfer flights in the ambulance aircraft are normally carried out under controlled conditions. However, as the patients are often intensive care patients, unexpected complications may occur at any time during transport.” The rescue helicopters operated by Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR) are designed as doctor-led services, which results in a broad spectrum of applications, ranging from the above-mentioned traumas to cardiac events such as acute coronary syndrome and neurological diseases. “As a result,” said LAR, “all nurses must not only have clinical training, but also be paramedics. Depending on which country they come from, the training varies, but they all have in common the fact that they all have a high level of competence in assisting in the treatment of acute preclinical settings.”

The same applies to the medical staff of the LAR, who are not only specialists in anaesthesia and intensive medicine, but also all have an additional qualification as emergency physicians. By working regularly on the rescue helicopter, the doctors can maintain their skills in identifying and treating critically ill patients. Thus, LAR nurses and doctors are also trained in advanced life support, as well as trauma management, which is obviously valuable in during a fixed-wing transport if a patient were to deteriorate.

The advantages of the dual deployment are summarised below:

  • Necessity of a double qualification of the specialist nursing staff, as well as the physicians in the clinically intensive medical field, which is also required in preclinical medicine.
  • Regular contact with critical patients.
  • Routine care of patients with severe respiratory, ventilation, circulatory and neurological deficit problems.
  • Training in Advanced Life Support and Trauma Management.