MEDEVAC and COVID-19, SAMU in Chile provided more than 100 deliveries of patients with coronavirus

MEDEVAC and COVID-19, SAMU in Chile provided more than 100 deliveries of patients with coronavirus.

More than 100 MEDEVAC deliveries of COVID-19 patients in Chile by SAMU. Almost all patients have transferred from Santiago to the various regions. This was possible thanks to the collaboration between the Fuerza Aerea de Chile (FaCH) and the Metropolitan SAMU network, in what is known as the “Evacam Program”.


Coronavirus emergency, MEDEVAC organization in Chile allowed better COVID-19 patients management

COVID-19 patients got essential care for their recovery in less central regions, which has enabled beds to be freed up in the capital’s intensive care units. These were then made available to other more serious patients, allowing efficient use of the critical allowances available throughout the network.

In other words, air ambulance enabled a wise re-distribution of infected people, avoiding as far as possible the overloading of wards concentrated in a certain area of Chile. Due to the high demand for care for the health emergency, they defined the strategy of implementing the COVID-19 patient transfers to the regions.

As indicated by Public Health at the end of March, SAMU was had to regulate the transfer of these patients, as well as secondary transfers (among hospitals, from the same or different cities).


Coronavirus and MEDEVAC, the statements of SAMU responders in Chile

As explained by Dr Patricia Méndez, director of the Central Metropolitan Health Service (SSMC), “to comply with this ministerial recommendation, we have formed a working group with the participation of professionals with extensive experience in air transfers, the FACh, and of course the Metropolitan. The rigorous re-organization brought about by the COVID emergency has led to the successful completion of all the transfers to date, and many of these patients have even returned from discharge or completed their recovery in the metropolitan region, thanks to the effort and commitment of the teams that carry out this complex task day after day.”

This work also requires close coordination with the hospitals of origin of the transferred patients. In this regard, Dr Sebastián Mayanz, technical chief of the ICU of the Public Assistance Emergency Hospital (formerly Central Post), points out that “our healthcare team is fully committed to providing the best care and being able to create a space for those patients who need it. They operate by providing a new opportunity, both for the transferred patient and for those who require an intensive care bed. And this is possible thanks to the fact that the entire healthcare system has multiplied, thanks to the collaborative work with the entire SAMU team, which deals with ground transportation, together with the FACh that supports them in air transportation and finally with the hospital teams that receive patients”.

For his part, Dr Marco Enríquez, head of the emergency service at El Carmen de Maipú Hospital, also emphasizes the role of the emergency service in coordination with SAMU, UGCC and Chilean Area Force for the transfer of patients. which are currently connected to mechanical ventilation and require a space in a critical patient unit, in the health care network, both public and private in the country.

“Today we are working with the idea of a large national hospital, in which our patients, who are in the emergency department when we do not have the opportunity to give them that critical space within the plant itself or within the MRI health network, are chosen to be transferred to another city or region of the country to access this benefit “.

SAMU network against COVID-19 in Chile: Ground Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) and MEDEVAC

The decongestion of critical patients is the fundamental objective of this management, which plays a leading role for the Metropolitan SAMU team, which works with various institutions, which have met and worked out the details of this coordination.

In this regard, Dr Julio Barreto, head of the Metropolitan SAMU Disaster Risk Management and Reduction Unit, points out that “we are responsible for ensuring that the transfer is in the best conditions, equal to those that patients have in the ICU beds, considering factors such as movement, temperature, noise, among others.

At the same time, Dr Barreto stresses the importance of the population in respecting the measures imposed by the authorities, such as quarantine in various parts of the country, as the best way to collaborate in the work they are doing. “The most important thing is that the work we are doing helps many people, including us, some family members or friends and we would like to be treated because today SAMU is taking care of the patients it transfers”.





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Metropolitan SAMU 

Ministerio de Salud – Gobierno de Chile

El Carmen de Maipú Hospital



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