From next week on, two HEMS bases of DRF Luftrettung in Germany will operate with “EpiShuttles”, special isolation stretchers. Another eight HEMS bases will soon follow suit.
DRF Luftrettung is investing in the protection of patients and its crews to ensure that, in these times of the coronavirus, people in medical emergencies can still be rescued as fast as possible. The first step will already be made next week when two HEMS bases will be equipped with isolation stretchers known as “EpiShuttles”. A further eight HEMS bases will soon follow suit. These stretchers will not only help crews save valuable time but will also afford them optimum protection. The newly equipped HEMS bases will be ready for action after each operation more quickly, as the very time-consuming disinfection of helicopters after missions with corona-infected patients will no longer be necessary. More and more people need fast access to intensive-care beds with ventilators but are at present transported predominantly by road, which costs time and can put lives at risk. Unfortunately, this need is likely to increase strongly in the coming weeks.
“The innovative ‘EpiShuttles’ enable patients to be transported as if in an intensive care unit. The person lies under a transparent cover and can be connected to an intensive respiratory device via airtight access points while being monitored and treated at the same time. In this way, we can fly well-monitored patients quickly and safely to hospitals with free ventilator-equipped intensive-care beds, while our crews are protected from infection even better than before and can continue their life-saving operations,” explains the medical director of DRF Luftrettung, Dr Jörg Braun.
An “EpiShuttle” currently costs about 40,000 euros. “DRF Luftrettung has decided to make this important investment in the lives and safety of patients and crews and would highly welcome any support from donors and sponsors for this urgent measure. In these times, in which every minute counts all the more, we want to do everything in our power to be there for people in need,” says Dr Krystian Pracz, chairman of the executive board at DRF Luftrettung, about this exceptional investment.
More and more people are becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, and the number of those who require hospital treatment is skyrocketing. An increasing number of patients need an intensive-care bed with a respirator in order to survive, but the first hospitals are already running out of available beds.
In the event of shortages, DRF Luftrettung is able to connect patients to an intensive respiratory device and fly them quickly to a hospital with a free ventilator bed. However, transporting corona-infected persons puts crews at great risk, as space is tight inside the helicopters. The pilot, emergency paramedics and doctors are in direct contact with the patients and are exposed to the threat of infection. This means that the crews have to disinfect the helicopters very thoroughly after such operations. As of next week, thanks to the “EpiShuttles”, DRF Luftrettung will be able to protect its crews and also patients much more easily and effectively, and thus remain fully operational in the times ahead.