Recently, there was a medical evacuation of a lady who was very sick just up the valley in Papua, Indonesia. Usually the weather in the afternoons is challenging, but we were able to carry out this flight.
On one Monday morning, I started from the international airport Ivato at Antananarivo, Madagascar for a short flight to pick up Sedera and his team. I was able to land directly in front of his house. After that, we continued into the rain forest.
My son Ezekiel was riding his bike and had a nasty fall. His knee and foot were ripped up pretty badly. He was tough but a little pale. My husband Matthias treated his injury, cut off the dangling skin and cleaned his wounds. But then Ezekiel’s foot started to swell and turn purple. After a few days, we thought we should get an X-ray done, just in case.
With our scheduled flight cancelled, we were able to respond to a medical evacuation request to the village of Yuarima. The village is nestled in a very steep valley only 10 minutes away by air, but on foot it’s a two day hike along steep terrain from Wamena, Papua, Indonesia.
Our representatives in Brazil were asked if we as Helimission could help out with a mission. Due to the heavy rainfall, the regular supply flights could not be carried out with small airplanes, because the ground of the grass landing strip was too soft. The airplane’s wheels would have sunk into the ground on landing and have been torn off.
When we are asked to do a medical evacuation, the report often says the person is “sick on the inside” which could be anything. We never know what state the patient will be in. Usually the person is very sick.
Last time we reported about the boy called Bianus who had broken shin bones with an open wound on the calf that became badly infected. There was a strong risk of the bones also becoming infected. The doctors in Wamena were unable to do anything more to help him, so he needed to be flown to a bigger hospital on the coast. However, they needed permission from his father for this.
Recently I was asked by the wife of one of our pilots, if I could visit a patient in the hospital. According to the story we heard, two people had been killed in an accident while chopping wood. Bianus, our patient, had tried to come to their aid and was seriously injured in the process.
A medical evacuation (often shortened to “medevac”) is the evacuation of a sick or injured person from precarious or difficult to reach areas. According to Wikipedia, the first medical transport by air was recorded in Serbia in 1915 during the First World War. Today, more than 100 years later, Helimission (since 1971) carries out medevacs on a regular basis in countries where no other assistance is available for the patients.