MedicalDr. Paul March, M.D. - Medical Director
Dr. Paul March, U.S. Air Ambulance's Medical Director, is a Federal Aviation Administration Medical Inspector with twenty two years of Advanced Cardiac Life Support experience.
Dr. March developed and enforces strict protocols that exceed national standards. He reviews each patient�s case and provides specific protocols for each patient.Medical Staff
U.S. Air Ambulance employs highly skilled and successful medical personnel that are dedicated to the providing excellent standards of care. Our aero-medically trained, multi-lingual staff consist of :
- ICU-CCU Certified Registered Flight Nurses
- ICU neonatal and pediatric Flight Nurses
- Board Certified Emergency Medicine Flight Physicians
- We utilize four levels of medical staffing to provide each patient with the most appropriate and cost efficient care.
- Emergency trained Registered Nurse or Critical Care Paramedic
- ALS: Two critical care personnel: ICU or emergency trained Registered Nurses and/or Critical Care Paramedics
- Respiratory: ICU trained Registered Nurse or Critical Care Paramedic plus a Respiratory Therapist
- Specialty Trauma
A specially trained Physician, one ICU or emergency trained Registered Nurse and a a Critical Care Paramedic or Respiratory Therapist
As part of training, our air medical crews must demonstrate air ambulance knowledge, performance, and skills to preceptors. All air ambulance team members meet the following requirements:
- At least five years experience in critical care
- Training in flight physiology, ACLS, and critical care medicine
- Current certification in ACLS, ATLS, PALS, and/or NALS
Each aero-medical transport specialist has successfully completed a U.S. Department of Transportation Air Medical Crew-Advanced National Standard Curriculum or its equivalent which has been approved by our medical director. Courses include general topics, patient assessment, flight safety, and management appropriate to the patient in the airborne environment.
U.S Air Ambulance provides the state of the art advanced life support equipment including:
- FAA approved stretcher
- Cardiac Monitors
- Portable Transport Ventilators
- ECG / IBP / NIBP / Pulse Oximeter / End Tidal CO2 Monitor
- IV Minimed Infusion Pumps
- Portable suction units
- Emergency Cardiac Drugs
- GI/GU Kits
- Oxygen regulators, gauges, tubing, canulas and masks
- Intubation kits
- Oropharyngeal airways
- Hand operated bag-valve mask resuscitators
- Blood pressure cuffs
- Reeves stretcher
- Linens, blankets, towels, pillows
- 115 vac/60 hz outlets powered by AC inverters and DC outlets.
All medical equipment and supplies are checked, prior to and after each transport to assure proper maintenance and inventory on all medical equipment. Equipment is regularly rotated into and out of inventory for periodic scheduled maintenance and calibration.
Please contact us for more information concerning specific medical needs equipment.
The following is a general description of the type of medications U.S. Air Ambulance carries in our medical bags.
- Beta Blockers
In addition to these standard medications, the medical team is authorized by our Medical Director prior to transport to administer current ongoing medications for patients. Non-standard medications are typically supplied by the sending facility, the patient's family, or the patient himself depending on the level of transport.
During International transports, we understand and accept that patients might receive medications that are not routinely used, nor are FDA approved, in the United States. Our policy prohibits the administration of illegal drugs.
U.S. Air Ambulance administers an extensive series of protocols and procedures for the benefit of our patients. Emergency Medical Guidelines �99 (third edition) has been accepted as the foundation of our medical protocols which may be followed without on-line medical direction. This book contains extensive areas covering Educational Guidelines, Procedural Guidelines, Treatment Guidelines, and Drug Utilization Guidelines.
The following is a basic outline of Emergency Medical Guidelines #99 (third edition):
Educational Guideline: 1-59
Procedural Guidelines: 61
Airway Management: 62-74
Medication and Fluid Administration: 87-100
Interfacility Transports: 117-119
Multiple casualty Incidents 120-123
Treatment Guidelines: 125
Cardiac conditions: 134-135
Infusion Rates: 156-164
The following is a addendum to our current operating protocols in reference to DISEASES, CONDITIONS, AND ORGAN SYSTEMS AFFECTED BY ALTITUDE AND THE AIR MEDICAL ENVIRONMENT. If you would like a full version of our protocols please contact our medical department.
Even in pressurized aircraft, the air medical environment presents unique stresses on our patients. These stresses include immobility, noise, motion, vibration, hypoxemia, decreased humidity, gravity, and decreased barometric pressure with subsequent air expansion. So as to assure that our patients are transported as safely and comfortably as possible, the following protocols shall apply;
1) Head and Neck
a) Balloons: All balloons e.g. nasal balloons for posterior nasal bleed shall be filled with water whenever possible.
b) Trapped air: Aircraft pressure may need to be adjusted for patient comfort due to the expansion of trapped air in sinuses, dental cavities, or middle ear blockage. Patients with intracranial or intracerebral air will need to be flown at or near a sea level equivalent pressure. Patients prone to middle ear block will be offered chewing gum and/or afrin nasal spray if clinically appropriate.
c) Eye injuries: Cabin pressure may need to be adjusted for patients with eye injuries. In addition, these patients and patients with recent eye surgeries shall have their heads elevated and immobilized during flight. Supplemental oxygen will be used for all patients with recent eye injury or eye surgery. (due to the high oxygen requirements of the retina).
d) Neurology insults: All patients with head injuries, brain injuries, or cranial surgery shall be loaded with their feet to the rear of the aircraft. The patients head will be elevated to 30 degrees. Oxygen saturation will be maintained at or above 95%. Foley catheters will be inserted. Patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 9 or less shall be intubated unless their baseline GCS is normally 9 or less, or unless they have a valid current DNR requesting no intubation. NG tubes will be inserted unless the patient has a cribform plate or basilar skull fracture. e) Eye humidification: Comatose patients shall be given artificial tears every ho8ur during a flight unless eyelids are taped closed. Patients and passengers with contact lenses shall be offered moisturizing eye drops at frequent intervals. (e.g. Visine).
f) Seizures: All patients with a history of seizures, or have a high potential for seizures shall be evaluated for anticonvulsant medication and/or sedation.
g) Trauma patients: If the patient complains of c-spine, examine x-ray. If not x-ray not available, apply neck brace prior to transport.
h) Wired jaws: An antiemetic shall be given prior to transport. Wire cutters shall be available in the event of emesis.
a) Trapped air: pression sickness or those who are at risk of decompression sickness shall be flown at a sea level equivalent altitude for pressurization purpose.
b) Hydration: Fluids po shall be encouraged (clinical condition permitting) or IV�s administered or adjusted to compensate for low humidity environment. Patients shall receive frequent mouth care with lemon glycerin swabs or fluids. color="#4E6699">c) Recent MI or unstable angina: those patients shall be flown in accordance with Intensive Air�s unstable angina/recent MI protocol.
d) Shocks: All patients in shock of any kind shall have an NG tube inserted.
e) CHF: All patients in CHF shall have oxygen saturation at or above 95%. They shall be placed with their feet to the rear of the aircraft, and transported in a sitting or semi-fowler�s position.
a) Trapped air: Patients with a pneumothorax shall have this air vented via closed chest tube or needle decompression. If venting is not possible, cabin altitude will be adjusted to accommodate this.
b) Air filled devices: Airway cuffs shall be filled with water to prevent excessive tracheal pressure.
c) Suctioning: Patients with artificial airways shall be suctioned prior to flight, then at each refueling stop. Frequent suctioning may be required depending on the patient�s clinical condition.
d) Pulmonary secretions: Thick and difficult pulmonary secretion may be worsened by the low humidity. Mucous plugs may form. Patients with this problem will be offered humidified air via mask or Guifesen preparations to act as expectorant/mucolytic.
e) Oxygen: Oxygen will be available on all flights. All flights should prepare for at least 2 lpm. Any patient with a known disease or condition that lessens tissue oxygenation, (e.g. CHF, anemia, COPD, narcotics) or whose condition might be aggravated by hypoxia shall be placed on oxygen during flight and oxygen saturation at or above 90% at all times. (Exceptions to this are addressed elsewhere in this protocol). Patients already on 100% oxygen prior to flight will need to be flown at lower altitudes to maintain adequate oxygenation.
f) Special precautions for chronically hypoxic COPD patients: Patients with severe COPD whose oxygen saturations normally run less than 90% should be given only enough oxygen to maintain their �normal� oxygen saturation. Attempting to go higher will only lead to further carbon dioxide retention and possible respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest.
g) Severely obese patients: To reduce the risk of barobariatrauma, the patient will be placed on 100% oxygen for 15 minutes prior to transport. Oxygen saturation will then be maintained at or above 95% throughout the flight with supplemental oxygen.
h) Appropriate oxygen supplies: For patients known to require oxygen, the Medical Coordinator will calculate the amount of oxygen needed to meet the patient�s needs from �pick-up� to �delivery�. Due to potential unforeseen delays in patient transport, a minimum of 150% of the calculated need will be loaded along with the patient.
a)Air filled devices: All balloons shall be filled with water, when possible. If not possible, the pressure must be monitored closely. (e.g. esophageal blake more tubes for bleeding varices.
b) Trapped air: NG tubes, orogastric tubes, and colostomy bags shall be vented during flight, not clamped.
c) Patients with non-vented intestinal or peritoneal air: e.g. bowel obstruction or recent surgery may need cabin pressure adjusted to the avoid complications of air expansion.
d) Air sickness: Patients who are prone to or who develop air sickness shall be offered an antiemetic. This can be done by mouth, injection (IM or IV), suppository (e.g. phenergan) or patch such as trans-derm Scop.
a) Air filled devices: Balloons such as foley catheters shall be filled with water when possible.
b) Voiding: Patients shall be encouraged to void prior to flight as well as during fueling stops. For patients who cannot void easily, foley catheters will be considered on all flights which are expected to be 6 hours or longer.
a) Patient shall be turned and repositioned at least every two hours whenever possible. For flights over 4 hours, the stretcher should be padded to reduce tissue breakdown.
U.S. Air Ambulance has an active Quality Assurance Program. At the completion of each flight, the transport team's flight notes are sent to the corporate office where the Medical Director and Medical Coordinator carefully review them. Any areas of concern are noted and discussed with the flight crew, as well as provided to the flight teams. In addition, an evaluation card is sent to the family after the flight, requesting them to evaluate our service and the care provided to the patient. This comprehensive Quality Assurance Program enables us to continually evaluate ourselves, and consequently maintain our highest level of service and care to our patients.