Sky is the limit: The story of an air ambulance service
Started by a husband-wife duo, AeroCare, an air ambulance service that catered to critically ill Covid patients, is now handling non-Covid emergencies.
A two-month-old infant, who was on the verge of a cardiac failure because of collapsed lungs, was airlifted from Gurgaon to Chennai recently. The neonatal team travelled with this baby with ventilator support before he reached the operation theatre. This is just one among the many life-saving stories of AeroCare, an air ambulance service founded by husband-wife duo Dr. Vivek Kumar and Anusha L. Headquartered in Chennai, and with a base in Hyderabad and Dubai, AeroCare is one of the pioneers in air ambulance service in India.
With Covid-19 leading to exacerbated health conditions, the last two years have been the busiest for them. And since then, the demand for their services has skyrocketed for non-Covid emergencies as well as many people had to postpone their non-Covid treatments and surgeries because of the pandemic caseload.
Close to 100 patients were airlifted just during the second wave, shares Anusha. To contain the spread of infection to pilots, the medical crew and the attendants of patients are kept in exclusive isolation pods fit into the aircraft. All flights are fitted with oxygen cylinders and ECMO (an advanced form of life support).
“Our surgeons, anaesthetists and perfusionists carry out ECMO initiation. People in the age bracket of 25-50 constituted a major chunk of our patients,” says Anusha. Patients can be airlifted from the nearest airport. AeroCare has licensed and insured ambulance services with a large fleet of chartered planes, choppers and jetliners with state-of-the-art medical equipment and escort service. Aircraft companies such as Learjet, Beechcraft, Pilatus, and C 90 are a few that AeroCare has partnered with. Besides this, they also have a fleet of ground ambulances to transfer patients by road. “The mode of transfer depends on the distance, time, affordability and health condition of the patient. While we have leased private charter flights, we have also tied up with commercial airlines to reduce costs,” explains Anusha.
AeroCare also provides medical escort service if the patient is not critical and wishes to travel by regular flights. “We want to keep our options flexible so more people opt for the services. Corporate and insurance companies are also offering loans and EMI schemes for those who cannot pay one-time cash,” Anusha shares.
The couple hope to collaborate with more hospitals and specialists. They want to promote medical tourism more aggressively by assisting international patients to choose a hospital, collect medical reports, arrange bed-to-bed transfer from the country of origin to India and arrange accommodation in India. Hope their dreams take flight.