A moment after we had been introduced, Scott, a clean cut flight paramedic, was already on the way back into the base to pick up some more medical equipment. He had just walked off of an airplane where the engines were still winding down and he was prepping for yet another air ambulance mission. What was strange was that I had to go to the airport at 4:00 A.M. to meet him.
I'm sorry he says
We just found out from base, I've got another run to make. Many of us have some insight into the world of paramedics, emergency teams, disaster EMS crews, through the movies, or perhaps a friend who works for the fire department. But who has heard of air ambulance? This is why I was standing near the runway in the wee hours of the morning, waiting curiously for an appointment that was, needless to say, instantly dismissed. Normally I might think it was rude, but considering that Scott himself was going back to work to try to save someone's life, I figured I'd let this one slide. I couldn't blame him. Later that day, when he had returned from another four hour medical flight, I met him back at the airport. It was just in time for breakfast.
What do you call what you do? I asked him. Just four hours later, with almost a superhuman ability to be awake, he spoke as if he had a full night's sleep.
People call it a lot of things: Air Ambulance, Air Ambulance Charter, Medflight, Medivac, Air Evac, Air Medical Transportation, Medical Air Transport, I had to stop him, he might have gone on forever. Besides, I had to ask what I really wanted to know-
Why do you stay up all night, flying on small airplanes with patients? He replied laughingly,
I really don't know. I guess anyone who works for an air ambulance service must be crazy. I like NOT knowing where I'm going. A lot of air ambulances work like that. You could be going on a medevac mission from one hospital to another hospital only 200 miles away, or you could be going to Europe to pick up a patient that is 1000 miles away. It is an air ambulance Florida can count on and it is an air ambulance Europe can count on. Air ambulance services like the one I work for focus on the patient: it doesn't matter where they are. At that moment I realized that this is actually a regular thing. Just most people have not encountered it. It is like going to a specialized doctor. These air ambulance companies are like flying doctors that take us home. They are the medical flight specialists. They are the air ambulance specialists of the medical field. After some very modest eggs and a half-toasted bagel, we spoke for a while and he began to tell me stories of the patients he had helped and the worldwide air ambulance adventures he had been on. I'll elaborate more on that in my next article in two weeks.