Three airline companies to enhance passenger safety with emergency telemedicine

Phoenix 19 July 2000Air Canada, Canadian Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) separately have decided to join forces with MedAire Inc., a company which specialises in medical preparedness services and equipment for the aviation industry. MedAire's emergency telemedicine service, called MedLink, now allows the in-flight crews of all these three airline companies to consult directly with a certified emergency physician at any time during any flight, anywhere in the world.

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Whenever an in-flight medical emergency should occur onboard an intercontinental flight, expert medical assistance is mere seconds away. All it takes is a call to MedLink's state-of-the-art Emergency Telemedicine Center where MedLink's board-certified, practising ER physicians will be standing by to guide crew members in successfully treating any in-flight medical incident.

In an emergency in-flight situation, the flight crews will be able to quickly contact a MedLink physician who will assess the medical situation and recommend a plan of care. The physician will decide if the situation warrants opening and using the onboard medical kit, make contact with any medical personnel who may be aboard the flight, and determine the best course of action for the customer.

Not only does this service significantly enhance the safety of the passengers, it gives crucial peace of mind to pilots and crew as they rest assured that MedLink's vast experience in managing in-flight medical incidents is onboard with them. For over 15 years, MedLink has been the key component in the successful management of thousands of in-flight medical situations in more than thousands of aircraft.

MedAire provides fully integrated medical preparedness services and related equipment for the aviation and other industries. Offerings including global emergency telemedicine, training and train-the-trainer programmes, medical kits, defibrillation solutions, and more. Clients include thirty commercial airlines around the world, corporate flight departments, governments, and maritime operators.

Strengthening MedAire's presence in Europe and the surrounding markets, MedAire has established a partnership with Norwegian Air Ambulance (NLA) in Oslo, Norway, known as MedAire Europe. For 22 years, NLA has been a leading provider of telemedicine and air ambulance services, utilising fixed wing and rotor wing aircraft. MedAire Europe is playing a significant role by supporting all MedAire products and services in these key markets.

In addition, Air Canada signed an agreement with Medtronic Physio-Control to equip all of its aircraft with automated external defibrillators or AEDs, to start in Autumn 2000. Training of Air Canada staff will equally begin in the autumn. Training sessions will include Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation or CPR, and instruction in air-to-ground medical assistance communication, as a complement to the existing and ongoing safety training.

At the same time, Canadian Airlines will progressively start to equip its fleet with AEDs. Along with the installation of the defibrillators, the two airlines will also complement their onboard medical kits with cardiac monitors. To launch these two important projects, Air Canada and Canadian Airlines are initially investing over $1.5 million in equipment, training, and installation costs.

"The Heart and Stroke Foundation applauds Air Canada for adopting a high quality in-flight medical emergency system to ensure their passengers have the best possible chance of surviving should they suffer a cardiac event or arrest", stated Marc Gay, as Chair of the Emergency Cardiac Care Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "Safe and easy to use, AEDs can increase the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by 30 percent or more."


Leslie Versweyveld

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