Medical treatment

Critical patient transported 23 hours from US to Chennai for medical treatment

A critically ill 67-year-old woman was being treated at Apollo Hospital in Chennai on Wednesday, after a tense 23 hours in an air ambulance that ferried her from Portland in the United States to the capital of Tamil Nadu with stops in Reykjavik and Istanbul .

This is the longest medical transfer the international critical care air transfer team has undertaken, said ICAAT’s Shalini Nalwad, who oversaw the complex evacuation which cost around Rs 1 crore.

The woman, whose identity has not been released, was treated in Chennai by Apollo Hospital’s senior interventional cardiologist Dr Sai Satish and a team of doctors upon her arrival in the city, sources said. sources at PTI.

The woman from Bengaluru suffered heart failure while in the United States with her family and was admitted to a tertiary hospital there.

“Her health then deteriorated further affecting other organ systems. She suffered kidney failure and was stabilized on dialysis,” said Nalwad, who founded ICATT with Dr Rahul Singh Sardar. , at PTI in Bengaluru Summing up the details of the medical evacuation, Nalwad said there was a lot of discussion and planning between the treating doctors in the US, their counterparts in Chennai and ICATT members.

“It was going to be complex intensive care management, away from any help at 41,000 feet for most of the 23-hour journey,” she said.

After careful planning, July 17 was set to fly the woman out of the United States, and ICATT sent its flying intensivist on July 15 to Portland. A thorough bedside assessment was performed and a transport strategy was defined.

“The biggest challenge with this operation was that the kidneys were completely dependent on dialysis and this therapy cannot be given in transit. The transit time they faced was 23 hours in total, including 19.5 hours of flying alone,” the doctor said.

ICATT had been contacted by Dr. Satish from Apollo for the transfer.

The operation to transfer the patient from Portland to Chennai began at 2:30 p.m. local time.

Two super-midsize private jets were involved in transporting the woman to India. She was first put on a Challenger 605 aircraft which was developed as an intensive care unit (ICU) where three doctors and two paramedics accompanied her to ensure she arrived safely in the country.

She stopped in Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital, to refuel, then took off again from there to Istanbul in Turkey to be transferred to another Challenger 605 aircraft. It took off for a brief stop in Diyarbakir in Turkey and finally reached Chennai, said the founder of ICATT.

There was a crew change in Istanbul en route and the patient landed at 2am on July 19 in Chennai. She was handed over to the city’s receiving hospital by the ICATT medical team where her treatment began immediately, Nalwad said.

According to her, ICATT has a proven track record in transferring highly critical patients, nationally and internationally, over the past five years.

“ICATT had also transferred the longest single-crew air ambulance transfer during the lockdown from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Chennai. Now we have broken our own record by successfully transferring a critical patient from the United States to India,” Nalwad said.

During the pandemic, ICATT also transferred the first COVID-19 positive patient by air to a specialized isolation pod from Afghanistan to Hyderabad when there was a global aviation lockdown, it said. she declared.

No less than 148 ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) initiations and transfers were performed over 18 months, where more than 500 critical COVID-positive patients were airlifted.

The transfer of patients from USA to India shows that the latter is rapidly becoming the preferred destination for medical treatment especially in heart, lung, liver and kidney management and Chennai has one of the best hospitals in the country, she explained.