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JAMA 75 Years Ago
August 3, 2011

The Air Service in Medical Emergencies

JAMA. 2011;306(5):558. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1035a

The Royal Aero Club of Belgium announces that the emergency airplane section formed from its membership and placed under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth is soon to hold its initial meeting. The organization of this unit imposes an obligation on all. The use of the airplane in emergencies created by accident and disease has been productive of marvelous results. It has made possible the saving of human life in tens of thousands of instances in which sick or injured persons would otherwise have been condemned to certain death accompanied by much suffering. Evacuation by airplane of the sick and injured will not often be resorted to in our home country with its various transport facilities and its abundance of highly specialized hospital equipment manned by an army of physicians of the first rank. But the colony is less fortunate. There the introduction of airplane emergency service is urgently needed. In the Congo, where vast regions are deprived of all means of speedy communication, a person who does not receive necessary medical attention within twelve to eighteen hours after sustaining a serious injury is doomed. The airplane can traverse, in hours, distances that would necessitate an agonizing journey of from six to ten days by other means of transport. Regardless of cost, the colonial subjects of Belgium will be provided the best possible opportunity for medical attention.