Unique professionals in unique circumstances
Universal Air Evac is Africa’s leading air ambulance operator, providing services throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The Universal Air Evac team has more than 30 000 flight hours of combined air ambulance experience, many of which have been earned under incredibly high-stress conditions.
With challenges ranging from irregular hours and language barriers to culture shock and traveling to inhospitable regions, it takes commitment and dedication to work in the field of medical evacuation. So, what keeps members of the Universal Air Evac team coming back time after time?
One of Universal Air Evac’s doctors explained that it’s the combination of teamwork, medicine, and logistics that keeps her coming back. “Not one case is the same, and every flight is different. As doctors, we don't get trained in the pre-hospital environment. We are used to only focusing on the patient and the illness in a fairly controlled setting. With this job, you have to apply those "in-hospital" skills in an exciting, ever-changing, pre-hospital environment using only the resources that you have available at 40 000ft. You get to plan ahead to a certain extent, but things can change quickly and you have to think on your feet.” She continued, “Apart from the amazing teamwork we experience, I also get to see little bits of the world at the same time.”
These sentiments were mirrored by a paramedic on the team, who said, “One of the aspects that I have always loved about my work, even though it sometimes is one of the most challenging - and let's face it sometimes terrifying - is crisis management in difficult moments. While our medivac flights are always planned to the finest details with multiple contingency plans, it doesn't change the fact that you never know what you will find or what could go wrong.”
She added, “Patient management, logistics and practicalities in a small aircraft in a country where they often do not speak English definitely requires some creative problem-solving. Of course, it is a bonus being able to see places and landmarks that I have only dreamed of, like the tip of Mount Kilimanjaro through the clouds or flying over Kariba.”
While exotic locations are certainly a drawcard, another of Universal Air Evac’s doctors arguably summed it up best when she said, “What keeps me coming back is knowing that I may be the difference between someone dying due to lack of resources and them getting to have more time with their family.”