Medical Products

Emergency Medical Transportation

Emergency medical transportation can refer to any method of transportation equipped with the medical equipment necessary in order to adequately provide life sustaining measures to safely move a person from one location to a facility where they can be appropriately treated for their level of acuity and medical condition.

“A medical emergency is an event that you reasonably believe threatens your or someone else’s life or limb in such a manner that immediate medical care is needed to prevent death or serious impairment of health. A medical emergency includes severe pain, bad injury, a serious illness, or a medical condition that is quickly getting much worse.” 

The highest level of emergency transportation will require air transport. An air ambulance may be a helicopter or an airplane; its mission is to ensure the best possible medical care during transport of a patient to a medical center or hospital equipped to best deal with the condition, injury or illness within the fastest time frame.

Of course the cost of any type of emergency transportation is always a factor. Our emergency helicopter transportation cost was $33k. Fortunately the insurance company covered the cost completely. Insurance policies all differ, some may not cover the cost, some many cover portions of the transportation and others will cover the entire bill. For the most part, if an air ambulance is deemed medically necessary, and there is no other way for the patient to receive the care, diagnosis or treatment, then it may be covered by a travel or health insurance plan that covers the cost of air ambulances. It is always good to look over your health care insurance plan and know what benefits you are entitled to, especially when renewing or switching to a new plan. Most people opt out of this option as they feel like it is something will never utilize in order to save money but let me tell you out of personal experience, you never know when you will be in that situation. It is always a good idea to choose a policy that offers air ambulance coverage with lower out-of-pocket expenses, reasonable deductibles and the co-insurance that works best for you.

They say most emergency situations tend to happen close to home but what do you know if you are far from home or traveling? Most people when traveling think about only the enjoyment that comes along with planning the trip. But never do we truly sit down and think about the what ifs or how to be prepared in case of an emergency. When you’re planning a trip, especially something overseas or internationally where you medical insurance plan may not be covered or differ you should always think about buying a travel medical insurance plan. In addition to the simple travel insurance that we often opt to purchase to cover our expenses in case we have an emergency and need to cancel those plans, it is quite more important to also consider obtaining emergency travel medical insurance and ensure it has the emergency medical transportation benefit (which some call medical evacuation insurance). The benefit limit can be as high as $500,000 or $1 million, depending on which plan you choose. You might wonder why these limits are so high, well unfortunately emergency medical transportation overseas can be extremely expensive. What could be saving you some money now, could be costing you a fortune later. The costs of emergency transportation depend on several factors: where you are  located, what resources are available in that area, the severity of your medical emergency (to determine if you will require basic or advance life support transportation), the type of transportation utilized and the location of the nearest medical facility that can safely treat you. That being said, emergency medical transportation is almost never cheap, so you will want to make sure you are covered!

Another thing to also include in your travel plans are making sure you know where the nearest urgent care and hospitals are located in the areas that you will be visiting. As well as what phone numbers to call in case of an emergency or what emergency transportation options there are. This is something that you will want to keep on you at all times while traveling. Personally, I would recommend to type out this information and store it in a laminated case it were to get wet. You truly do want to cover your bases and make sure you are prepared in these potential emergency situations. On the back side of that sheet you might also want to consider listing out the medications you are currently taking, what their doses are and the medical condition for which you need to take them. One of the things that I highly advise while traveling is to carry your vital documents, like your identification card and passport, with you at all times. The emergency contact information you will want laminated should be included with these documents. There are several RFID blocking travel holders that you can purchase to keep your documents safe and secure. These help protect against the threat of digital thieves who may try to scan your cards to obtain credit information. This one here is one of my favorite because it is lightweight, water resistant, you can adjust the length and have several compartments for storage. The last thing you will also want to worry about is having to deal with financial fraud. (Health tip:If you are looking for something to also hold your cell phone you will want to invest in something with more added protection life this one here to mitigate exposure of EMF radiation emitted from the cell phone.)

Lastly, if you are a caregiver and traveling with that individual I would also advise that you carry a laminated card indicating what needs to be done for the individual in case you were to be unconscious or need emergency medical treatment on yourself. Ideally that individual you are caring for should be wearing a medical alert bracelet on them at all times but it would be wise to also have some kind of documentation on yourself.

No one ever knows when a medical emergency situation may occur, but the best advice I can give you is to prepare yourself for one should the situation arise. Every second counts when trying to save a life!

Our Journey Through Cancer

The Flight of Our Lives

Within moments of receiving the devastating news, we were told there was no neurosurgeon available that night and Anthony needed to be transported to another hospital who had availability to take him. That hospital would be Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. By the grace of God that was the closest facility equipped to be able to admit Anthony for further evaluation and determine if he needed emergency surgery to be done that night. We were told that they would have to send an ambulance from the receiving hospital over to pick up Anthony and transport him back. It’s a 35 mile distance between the hospitals and if you are familiar with Southern California traffic, especially that in Los Angeles, you will know that means it is at least a good 2 hour drive during prime traffic. This would mean that it could take about 4 hours overall from the moment they picked him up until he was taken back and arrived at CHLA. Every minute counts and makes a difference in a life threatening situation. So thankfully we were presented with the option to have him transported via helicopter. Without a doubt or even question in our minds of how much this could cost or if this would even be covered by our insurance, we signed the release form immediately and before we knew it we would be taking the flight of our lives. 

During the brief moment that we waited for CHLA’s helicopter to arrive, Ricky and I took the time to inform our immediate family members of what was going on. I can’t even begin to tell you what was said in those conversations, at least for me personally, because it all happened so fast. Those close friends and loved ones that we had been in contact with during the day letting them know we were in the Emergency Room department we were just able to respond with a brief text message to update them on the situation. We then quickly returned to Anthony’s side and let him know we would not be going back home that night. That instead he needed to be transferred to another hospital so that they could run more tests on him to see what was making him vomit. He remained completely calm (as you will notice the same has applied throughout his entire course of treatment), as we fought back the tears at his bedside. We knew we were not going home that night but we honestly had no idea when we would be able to return after that moment. 

6:50pm (Pacific Standard Time) Anthony and I boarded what would be our first helicopter ride. A dream of ours to someday experience this moment, only we would have hoped that it was under different circumstances. Still in the same hospital gown that he had been in since 9:00 that morning when we first arrived to the ED. A blood pressure cuff wrapped around his right arm and a pulse-ox on his left index finger that were both attached to a heart monitor. He was strapped to a gurney with three seat belts across his body. Two nurses to his left hand side, one monitoring his vital signs while the other one was calling in the report to the charge nurse and receiving nurse at CHLA that would resume continuation of care.

It was so loud inside the helicopter, which adds to the rush of adrenaline. Despite the fear of not knowing what would happen next, the view of Los Angeles was still amazing. Anthony and I sat there in awe taking in the skyline and city lights at night. 

We made it from Anaheim to Hollywood in 8 minutes. The helicopter is only able to carry a certain amount of weight and with it being an air ambulance they carry a lot of medical emergency equipment that adds up weight quickly. Initially I was told I may not be able to ride in the helicopter with Anthony, which was nerve wrecking to have to part with him at that time if needed. Thank God the nurse pilot said the nurses on board would leave any personal bags or equipment not needed in order to ensure that I be able to accompany Anthony. 

Luckily they did not have to leave anything behind and I was able to ride in the helicopter with Anthony. Unfortunately for his dad, Ricky, that meant that he had a long drive home from the hospital to his house and then to CHLA. I cannot imagine what that drive was like for him, sitting there in traffic alone with just time on your hands to think and take it all in. On my end, I truly had no time to think. From the moment the helicopter landed on the roof of CHLA, the next moments happened so quickly. 

This is the commemorative pin Anthony was given from
the CHLA Emergency Transport Team