When a serious accident or medical emergency occurs such as a stroke or a heart attack, the significance of the first few minutes in saving a life can’t be emphasised enough. Taking the correct course of action and avoiding possible pitfalls is crucial.
In South Africa, an average of 15% of accidental deaths occur due to the lack of proper and timeous emergency care.
Acquiring basic first aid skills is highly recommended and strongly advised, but whether you have first aid skills or not, the first cause of action when you are in an urban location, is phoning a recognised urban emergency helpline, such as Netcare 911 (082 911) or ER24 (084 124).
These two medical emergency service suppliers are the most widely recognised in South Africa and boast the infrastructure and capacity to effectively deal with an emergency and dispatch a road ambulance to any urban location.
However, when you are in a remote location and the medical emergency possibly requires an airlift, victims or bystanders can phone Aerocare’s 24-hour emergency helpline on 082 555 8222 and our call centre can advise on the appropriate action to take, and whether an aeromedical evacuation is advisable.
If an airlift is the appropriate cause of action, our call centre will immediately engage with the patient’s relevant medical aid supplier to start the approval process for the airlift.
When an emergency occurs hundreds of kilometres away from the appropriate hospital, helicopters are quite often too slow in getting the patient to the treatment facility in time.
Our B200 King Air aircraft are the safest and quickest domestic transfer option for patients who are too sick or weak to endure the rigours of commercial flights, or are in a remote location and in a race against time to get to the closest, most appropriate medical facility that can perform a life-saving procedure.
We constitute a flying hospital and our range of pressurised aircraft are capable of carrying patients as well as relatives alongside our medical personnel.
Our turboprop air ambulances are purposely equipped to transport the sick and injured who are flown at high speed within a controlled cabin pressure environment.
Our aircraft are fitted with state of the art first-on-the market ICU equipment for specialist care, and we have a specialist doctor on board relevant to the particular emergency or transfer.
Basic guidelines for dealing with medical emergencies include:
- Do not move the patient.
- Do not crowd the patient – allow air to circulate.
- Try and ensure the victim is breathing and conscious by engaging with him/her, calling their name or talking loudly.
- Check for a pulse.
- Try and keep the victim calm.
- If the patient is struggling to breath, check the patient’s mouth for any foreign objects that may be blocking the patient’s airway.
- If the victim is having a seizure, turn the victim on his/her side, protect the person and yourself from injury and let the fit proceed. Do not restrain the person or try and stick something in her/his mouth.
- Do not administer any solids or fluids into the person’s mouth as it may enter the victim’s windpipe and restrict breathing or cause suffocation.
- Do not try and bring a person to consciousness by slapping or shaking.
- If the victim has burnt, cover the burns with a clean water-soaked clean cloth.
- It’s always a good idea to keep a well-stocked first aid kit at home and in your vehicle (place the kit out of reach of small children)
- It is crucial to engage with a reputable medical emergency service supplier as soon possible and follow their guidelines on dealing with the emergency.
For more information about the Aerocare service please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the 24 hour emergency help line 082 555 8222.