Heart rate
Photo of cardiac monitor display for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Pixabay

Abu Dhabi: A one-year-old Emirati girl with heart disease was recently safely flown from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi, India, for further treatment, with a ventilator and intensive care unit set up onboard a charter flight.

The patient, who was born with a congenital heart condition, also had an acute kidney injury, and was medically considered high-risk for air travel on a passenger flight. She was subsequently safely transported by medical assistance and travel company Humancare Worldwide, the company’s managing director and founding chairman Dr Hidayat Khan told Gulf News.

Ventilator support

Dr Hidayat Khan

“The young patient had been born with a heart condition, and had been seeking treatment at a hospital in India. Having recently returned to the UAE, she suffered two cardiac arrests, and her parents were eager to take her back to the doctors who has been treating her,” Dr Khan explained.

The patient was already on a ventilator when the family, supported by health authorities, contacted Humancare.

Hospital-to-hospital transfer

“We were able to process all the paperwork, evaluate her condition, and arrange for the air ambulance transport to India within 12 hours of being contacted. We also arranged for a paediatric intensivist to accompany the patient and her family,” Dr Khan said.

The entire hospital-to-hospital transfer from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi took six hours, including four hours and 15 minutes of flying time. Medical staff onboard the flight remained at hand to ensure that the patient was stabled when she was handed over to the medical team in Delhi.

Costs covered 

The entire transfer cost Dh230,000, which was covered by local authorities for the Emirati patient.

Dr Khan said Humancare regularly offers air ambulance transfers and repatriation services to multiple countries, including to Europe and the Americas. Transport aboard a passenger flight costs between Dh40,000 and Dh50,000, with the exact amount depending on location and patient condition. Transport by air ambulance or charter flight costs between Dh200,000 and Dh250,000.

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The company, which has been operating in the UAE since 2018, undertakes 10-15 transfers a month, with the majority of them involving repatriation of critically ill patients, said Mansoor bin Mukhtar, head of operations and business development at Humancare.

“We operate in tandem with local and state governments to facilitate these transfers, and want residents to know that safe transport is possible, even in cases when the patient is gravely ill,” he added.

Earlier this month, Humancare arranged the repatriation of a Pakistani expat who had become bedridden following a cardiac arrest. The patient was transported in an intensive care unit set up aboard a passenger flight.