Wednesday,  March 29, 2023  2:49 am

Allianz "flying ICU" provides urgent care to injured Canadians

Allianz "flying ICU" provides urgent care to injured Canadians
Dan Keon (l), Vice President, Market Management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada, and Sam Cimone (r), President, Montreal-based Skyservice Air Ambulance International

Allianz Global Assistance Canada is taking steps to ensure that any Canadians who fall ill, or become injured overseas, get the care they need, through a partnership with Skyservice Air Ambulance International.

An ICU in the sky

If the patient’s condition prevents them from being repatriated on a commercial flight, Allianz calls on Skyservice Air Ambulance International to bring the individual home in a specially-equipped jet that is virtually a flying Intensive Care Unit.

“Our Kitchener assistance centre, with its staff of over 800, receives approximately two million calls every year from Canadian travellers,” said Dan Keon, vice president, market management, Allianz Global Assistance Canada “On average, we enlist our medical transportation partners, including Skyservice, for over 1,400 repatriations each year to ensure our customers will get home to a Canadian hospital as quickly as possible when our medical assessment team determines it is safe for them to travel.”

The Skyservice aircraft, a specially-equipped Bombardier Learjet 45XR, contains a full complement of equipment, including a cardiac monitor, defibrillator, oxygen, ventilator and laboratory equipment.

Working to get you home

“Wherever you are in the world, when you call us during a medical emergency, the call comes to our centre in Kitchener,” Keon explained. “Our medical teams assess the situation, monitor the care you are receiving in the local hospital and determine the best course of treatment with your physicians. Once we confirm you are stable to travel and secure a receiving hospital bed in Canada, we work to get you home.”

The aircraft is staffed with two pilots and up to three medical staff, including a physician, a registered nurse and a respiratory therapist. Using a satellite phone, the in-flight crew can consult and stay in constant communication with the Allianz assistance specialists, as well as learn about changes to the patient’s condition while en route. The cabin of the aircraft can accommodate up to two stretchers, plus it has six seats to accommodate medical staff and family members.

The majority of repatriation flights are from the Caribbean region, but Allianz Global Assistance Canada and Skyservice have brought Canadians home from every continent except Antarctica. If the patient becomes unstable during the flight, the crew finds the nearest airport to land where they can receive care at a qualified hospital.