We got a Medevac call for an elderly man with a serious neck injury who needed to be flown to the hospital. His village, Lokon, is only about 10 minutes flight from our base here in Wamena. At the time, I wasn’t doing solo flights, so Micha and I got the helicopter ready and flew to Lokon.
A friend, who is building an orphanage in the southeast of the island, called our base. Someone had had a serious motorcycle accident. He had received some initial emergency medical care, but any further surgery would have to be done in the capital city, Antananarivo, and the wounded man would not survive the three-day journey by road.
It is not unusual for us to receive several flight requests for so called Medevacs (Medical Evacuation Flights) following the weekend. I sort and prioritize the requests according to urgency and try to put together as efficient a flight program as possible for the next day.
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.