Responses to air ambulance story

There are some interesting letters to the editor of the Wall Street Journal defending the use of air ambulances. (See Air ambulances: costly, dangerous, slow?)

They key points are:

  • ER physicians, scared of liability, are overreacting and sending even minor cases to specialty centers. (This echoes the comment from a Health business blog reader.)
  • When a rural community transports a patient a long distance in a ground ambulance, they put their own community at risk by losing their ambulance for most of the day
  • Once a patient is stabilized, sending them by fixed wing aircraft over a long distance is more comfortable than riding in a bumpy ambulance

However, a physician I know offered another argument against air ambulance use in trauma cases:

Due to noise in the helicopter and the close quarters, helicopter based paramedics are far less able to treat their patients en route than their colleagues in ground ambulances.

March 11, 2005

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