The caller reported an injured female guest, aged 70, who was unable to bear weight on her injured foot due to severe pain. The patient was in Kenya for a safari in the Masai Mara, hoping to witness the renowned wildebeest migration that happens at that time of year.
Shortly after the accident, the patient notified her insurance company in the US, and the insurer immediately tasked the patient’s assistance company to contact AFD as their preferred provider in Africa.
Upon request, AFD provided a quote for a medevac flight to evacuate the patient from her remote location, and was subsequently activated to conduct an air ambulance transfer to Nairobi. The medical and flight operations teams immediately started to work diligently throughout the night to make all necessary arrangements. This included taking into consideration that most dirt airstrips in national parks and conservation areas are operational only during daylight hours.
The journey begins
Equipped with all essential emergency medical supplies, and staffed by an emergency flight nurse and a pilot, the AFD air ambulance took off from Wilson Airport on 30 June at 6:30 a.m. AFD’s proximity to Wilson Airport allowed for a swift response, making a dawn take-off feasible. The aircraft landed at the bush airstrip at 7:15 a.m., after the captain conducted a flypast to confirm the absence of wild animals, ensuring safety for the crew and the aircraft. The patient, driven to the airstrip by lodge staff, already awaited the aircraft’s arrival.
Upon landing, AFD’s flight nurse assessed the patient’s condition thoroughly, administered necessary pain relief medication, and assisted her onto the aircraft. After securely placing her on a stretcher and relaying a brief report to the control centre at AFD, the plane took off at 7:35 a.m. and touched down at Wilson Airport at 8:15 a.m. The patient was then brought to the advanced life support ambulance that was waiting by the runway, and then transferred to the admitting hospital.
As AFD support various international assistance companies in Africa – specialising in diverse services throughout the continent – the patient’s assistance company had already requested AFD to guarantee payment for the patient’s medical expenses. It was also evident from the beginning that a repatriation on a commercial flight to the US would be arranged once the patient was declared fit to fly by the hospital.
From Nairobi to Nashville
Following a radiological examination that revealed the extent of the patient’s injury after she tripped and fell, surgery took place the same day. On the fourth day post-surgery, the patient’s assistance company confirmed the patient was fit for commercial airline travel, and AFD was tasked with providing a quote for nurse escorts from Nairobi to Nashville, which the assistance company immediately accepted.
Upon activation, AFD’s team pursued medical clearance from the airline with the most direct route to the patient’s home city, in an effort to avoid any unnecessary stress for the patient. During these preparations, the consulting surgeon already initiated physiotherapy for the patient in readiness for her discharge. AFD remained in constant contact with the contracting assistance partner, keeping them updated on the patient’s progress.
After nearly three weeks of hospitalisation, the patient was finally discharged and ready to start her trip back home. Two AFD emergency flight nurses accompanied her on her travels, transiting via Doha, Qatar, ensuring her comfort throughout the whole process. After a seamless journey, the patient was handed over to a local hospital in Nashville for further treatment back home.