May 28, 2014
PAL taps MedAire for in-flight medical support
Passengers and crew on Philippine Airlines’ long-haul international flights can now be assured of round-the-clock access to some of the best medical advice in the world while in the air – thanks to a new agreement that the flag carrier has forged with MedAire, the world’s leading provider of in-flight medical advice and assistance.
Under the agreement, MedAire will provide PAL anytime access to advice and assistance from emergency physicians stationed at its MedLink Global Response Center.
The center is based at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, a nationally ranked, multiple-awarded hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. MedLink medical assistance is available from anywhere in the world using the existing communications system of PAL aircraft.
MedAire’s MedLink doctors are available 24 hours a day to help manage in-flight medical situations as well as provide pre-flight medical guidance on whether an ill passenger is fit to fly. For instance, during an in-flight emergency, PAL pilots and cabin crew contact the MedLink center and communicate with a specialist physician via the aircraft’s satellite phone, HF/VHF radio or ACARS system.
The MedAire doctor assesses the situation, guides the crew or volunteer in providing emergency care to the patient and, depending on the severity of the illness, may recommend for or against a flight diversion.
“Medical volunteers are often helpful to assist the MedAire MedLink physician,” said Paulo Alves, MedAire’s Global Medical Director of Aviation. “But remember, volunteers are passengers first – and, depending on their specialty background, may not have the appropriate qualifications to assist the passenger or make a confident decision should they be asked whether they recommend a diversion.”
For its part, PAL said, “With MedAire, PAL’s flight crews now have direct access to emergency-room physicians at a Level One trauma center who can draw on the extensive medical resources available and then provide specific guidance on the case at hand. The flag carrier’s partnership with MedAire is most valuable as medical advice is made available at any point during a flight.”
MedLink physicians have immediate knowledge of the medical equipment on the aircraft, the medications available, and their location within the medical kit. In addition, should a diversion be recommended, MedAire assists the pilot and operations center in determining the most medically appropriate diversion location based on the passenger’s medical needs.
It then arranges emergency medical services to meet the flight in accordance with airport protocols. Last year, MedAire assisted its global airline clients with more than 28,900 in-flight medical events. MedAire is part of International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. Established in 1986, MedAire has provided assistance for more than 230,000 in-flight medical events.