British Nationals repatriated back home to London, England

AIMS aids with British Nationals repatriation back to London, England

A British national and her mother had planned a trip to some of South Africa’s best vacation spots. After a fantastic safari in the Pilanesberg, they arrived in Mossel Bay and checked in to their guesthouse with other members of the family. Together the family freshened-up and headed out for dinner. On their return to their accommodation, load-shedding was in effect, creating limited visibility as they navigated to their rooms. This lack of visibility unfortunately resulted in the patient accidently falling into an empty swimming pool on the property.

As a result of the fall, she sustained fractures to both calcaneus bones in her feet. The left calcaneus fracture was treated conservatively without surgery as it was only mildly displaced. The right calcaneus fractures, that expanded into the posterior facet, required more medical attention and in-theatre anatomical reduction. AIMS was contacted to supervise the care of the patient while she remained in South Africa and assist with organising and supporting her repatriation back home to the UK.

On the morning of the 29 March 2023, Lliam Richmond, AIMS’ flight paramedic and Medical Escort, went to visit the patient and conducted his pre-flight medical examination. The patient was found seated upright on the hospital bed. She was attentive, seemed healthy, and had a positive attitude. During patient assessment, it was noted that the patient had minor swelling over the left foot, with good dorsi and plantar flexion. The right foot appeared swollen and was warm to touch, having had a sterile dressing over the surgical wound.

The repatriation was then confirmed for the next day as it was determined that the patient was able to travel and was undergoing daily physical therapy, so she was able to stand and walk with assistance for short distances on her left foot. She would be fitted with CAM splints for the flight, allowing her to stand for a longer period with a little bit more weight on both feet.

To supervise the repatriation journey the medical escort, Lliam Richmond, and the nonmedical escort, Annick Breton, were picked up from their homes on the morning of 30 March 2023, and taken by the AIMS driver to Mediclinic Panorama. Upon arrival the patient was discovered sitting on the side of her bed, cheerful, busy packing her possessions, and looking forward to the trip home. The nursing sister gave the medical escort a handover and all the needed medication after noting the CAM splints on both of her legs.

Shortly thereafter, the patient’s mother was brought to the hospital by the AIMS driver and the ER24 ambulance crew arrived. They assisted the patient onto the ambulance stretcher and proceeded to the ambulance. The medical escort and patient travelled with the ambulance, whilst the patient’s mother and the non-medical escort travelled with the AIMS driver to Cape Town International Airport. On arrival at Cape Town International Airport the patient and her mother were both assisted with a wheelchair to the check-in counter. The group then proceeded through security and passport control before heading to the business class lounge for a short rest and some breakfast.

After breakfast, boarding was called and both the patient and her mother were taken to the plane, the medical escort assisted in getting the patient seated and settled whilst the nonmedical escort assisted the patient’s mother who was partially blind. During the first flight, the patient had moderate pain to both feet due to being seated for an extended period and with excellent care by the medical escort this was attended to efficiently. The flight was uneventful, and both the patient and her mom enjoyed their first flight on their journey back home.

When the patient and her mother arrived in Dubai, they were escorted by wheelchair from their seats and transported to the business class lounge, where the non-medical escort took care of passports and papers while the medical escort accompanied them.

The patient and her mother knew that this was the final leg of their journey home, and they couldn’t contain their joy at having made it this far. After they had boarded the aircraft, they were made to feel at ease and given the opportunity to rest for the duration of the journey.

As a result, they were able to receive an adequate amount of sleep. After they arrived in London, they were assisted by wheelchair from their seat on the flight. When arriving, at passport control, it was incredibly busy and stressful, however, the crew, the patients, and the patient’s mother worked together as a fantastic team in making it a seamless process.

Once everyone had made it through baggage reclaims, they proceeded to the arrival’s hall, where they were met by the NHS Ambulance crew. As they made their way to the ambulance outside, they were greeted by a very wet and miserable London. The patient and her mother were handed over from AIMS to the NHS in good health, together with all the necessary papers, medication, and luggage.

It was then time for the South African crew to bid them farewell and wish them well on their journey, another successful AIMS repatriation completed.

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