Fit to fly?

When transporting patients by ambulance aircraft, it is important to make sure that the patient is well enough to travel. Many patients do not know who is qualified to answer such a question. For that reason, many patients rely on the opinion of doctors at the hospital where they are currently being treated.

If you fall ill abroad, you may not speak the local language. This can lead to communication problems, and makes the experience of going to hospital even more stressful. Medical opinions diverge greatly on the subject of whether patients are fit to travel. Often, hospital doctors feel responsible for the patient’s well-being while they are in hospital – and also on their trip home.

Fit for transport – yes or no?

Whether or not a patient is fit to travel is often asked in the following cases:

  1. When local doctors question it.
  2. When family members want to have a patient transferred but are unsure that it is safe to do so.
  3. When the health insurance provider refuses to organise transport home for the patient.
  4. When we prefer to assess a patient’s health ourselves.

The first situation often occurs when a patient’s family want to have them transferred, but local doctors don’t think the patient is fit to fly. In the second, we would assess the patient and let their family know what we think. In the third situation, health insurance providers rely on us to prove that the transfer is medically advisable. Please get in touch with us to discuss any of the above situations: our doctors have years of experience and can accurately assess a patient’s fitness for transport. It is only the doctor accompanying the patient on the plane who is responsible for the patient’s well-being. We often consult with the patient’s family before the flight, as there is always a small risk of a patient taking ill during a flight,  but we are equipped to deal with medical emergencies in the air.

Even in borderline cases, we assess the patient and consult with their doctors and the patient’s family to discuss whether the flight is a risk worth taking – that is, if the risk to the patient of travelling is lower than the risk to the patient of staying at their current location.

Air ambulances are fitted with equipment to care for patients who require intensive care during their medical flight. The decision of whether or not a patient is fit to fly is not made by the hospital doctor, but by the doctor who will accompany the flight. You can rely on their judgement, even if it diverges from that of the hospital doctor. If a hospital doctors tells you the patient is not fit to fly, do not accept their opinion as gospel; ask for a second opinion. Medical Air Service offers this service free of charge.

Do you have any questions? 

If you would like to have more information about how to know if a patient is fit to travel, please see our list of FAQs.

Contact us

Our team members are available 24/7 to provide advice. We can arrange quick medical flights worldwide. Please contact us:

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