On rare occasions it is necessary to evacuate a patient in order to optimize medical care. This should not be undertaken lightly as it is frightfully expensive, usually costing between $10,000 and $75,000. The flight itself could also be detrimental to a poorly stabilized patient. Whenever possible, medical care should be undertaken at a local facility until the patient is stable enough to travel by commercial transport. Sometimes, however, local medical facilities are simply inadequate and a medical evacuation is the only choice.
This may occasionally be arranged on a regularly scheduled air carrier if seats are available to enable the patient to lie down and if there are adequate trained personnel to accompany him or her.
If an air ambulance or similar charter flight is going to be required, this would best be handled by an assistance company who knows the ropes. This is because there is often much more needed than simply to charter an aircraft. Most charter companies are restricted to operating within specified areas of the world, so the right one must be contacted. Various countries also have rules on transporting sick people into, out of or through their countries. Then there must be appropriate medical personnel to take care of the patient at each end of the trip as well as along the way. And appropriate medications and other supplies. Arranging all of this usually takes many hours and innumerable telephone calls and is best handled by professionals who can do it most efficiently.
Your travel agent, travel insurance company, or travel medicine clinic (such as ourselves) will usually be prepared to put you in touch with such an assistance firm.
The costs of such a transfer may, as mentioned above, be prohibitive. But insurance to cover such eventualities can usually be bought through your travel agent or travel medicine clinic.