First medical PTC-transport on Airbus A380 manned by SOS International doctor

SOS International was the first medical assistance company to take the new generation of flying intensive care units on the Airbus A380 in use on a patient transport on a Lufthansa flight from Johannesburg to Frankfurt.

The Patient Transport Compartment (PTC), a flying intensive care unit, is developed by Lufthansa Tecknik and LH Medical Service and can now also be built into Airbus A380 aircrafts to be used on long-haul routes.

The use of the PTC can be a very cost-effective alternative to ambulance airplanes. Using an intensive care unit when possible instead of an ambulance airplane is often cheaper. Lufthansa has aircrafts specially prepared for these intensive care units and can therefore change flights, when SOS International orders a PTC transport. It is of course only possible for SOS International to make use of these intensive care units when medical and logistic conditions make it possible.

The large airplanes from Lufthansa, i.e. Airbus 380, 340 and 330 and Boing 747, prepared for the PTC, have routes from/to Munich and Frankfurt, so the patients must continue the repatriation with an ambulance airplane from these destinations to the final European destination. The airplane change normally takes place wing-by-wing, i.e. the small ambulance plane is allowed to park close to the very large aircrafts. Although it seems inconvenient to change flight during a trip, this should be compared with ambulance flights having several ground stops for fueling.

Medical Escort Doctor from SOS International Hanns Reich, an anesthesiologist, escorted the patient on the first flight with the Airbus A380 and explains: “it was exciting to be the first to test a new installation together with a PTC-crew member. The ventilator, the infusions pumps, the monitors etc. all functioned as intended. The size of the PTC gives excellent working conditions with the patient placed in the correct height and seats for the escorting crew appropriate placed for monitoring the patient means that we can provide the best possible medical care during the repatriation. The Lufthansa PTC crew-member is fully aware of the conditions of having a patient on board and they know the exact position of all equipment, medicines and other supplies which contributes to a safe repatriation for the patient”.

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