For ten years, Bermuda never had an official air ambulance service. That all changed today, however, when the Bermuda air ambulance service was officially launched at the airport.
“ With the help from a lot of people, we now have a service with an airjet 55 that can bring patients to the U.S. in two to three hours,” Gilbert Darrell, founder and president of the Bermuda
air ambulance service, said at the launch.
Some of the people that Mr. Darrell would like to thank for helping this long-awaited service to come into fruition are St. John’s ambulance volunteers, KEMH nurses, North Shore Medical Center, direct partners CG Insurance, Argus and BF&M, and other investors and board members who are too numerous to mention.
“ We spend $2300 an hour on fuel and maintenance for this aircraft every time we fly and jet fuel has just hit $14 a gallon in the U.S,” Mr. Darrell said. “ This might look like a medical aircraft, but it is an aircraft after all. We have to meet U.S. and European standards. The Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) have been great partners with us to help us meet those regulations.”
He highlighted that this service is available for anyone and everyone living in Bermuda and encourages people to take advantage of it.
“ We work with the Government’s LCAA, which is a compassionate society that helps people pay for funds . . . but let’s make the insurance and pay issue secondary, let’s get these patients overseas and get them better healthcare and we can worry about those things later down the road,” Mr. Darrell said. Despite having a launch ceremony this morning, the air ambulance has been fully operational for four months and they have done eight flights to the U.S. so far this month.
Another person who played a key role in the service’s creation and operation was Dr. Matthew Arnold, who worked at the hospital’s ICU and Anesthesia units for many years and was asked to be the medical director for the project.
“ I did some additional training [for this role] in the U.S. and I’m delighted to be a part of the Bermuda air ambulance, because I see the great benefits of having an aircraft in Bermuda that we can use to transfer critically ill patients without unnecessary delays,” he said. “ We’re looking at around 200 patients per year that need transportation and we have both the ability and capability to do so.”
Bed availability needs to be accounted for before patients are sent overseas for treatment, as well as logistical things (passports, immigration papers, etc.) According to Dr. Arnold, this system has flaws, but it works relatively well.
TNN also spoke with Catherine Kempe, representing CG Insurance. Ms. Kempe stressed the importance of having up-to-date health insurance.
“ If someone is looking for health insurance, definitely give CG’s sales team a call,” she said. “
Our medical plans cover this air ambulance service 100 percent, and we at CG are so proud that this air ambulance is the first call that we make when we get that notification.”
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