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Commercial Medical Escorts Blog

Our CME blog will keep you aware of what is going on within the aero medical transport industry and the latest news for Commercial Medical Escorts. Every week we have nurses and doctors in different areas of the world. Each of our medical team members are providing excellent patient care and assisting patients with different medical needs. While one nurse may be in Indonesia caring for a patient with a hip fracture, another nurse can be in Thailand tending to a patient that recently experiences a mild stroke. Our medical blog is a way for you to get an insight to the air medical transportation that we provide.

Meet Patrick

by Lux Joseph 10. February 2015

When you are ready to be transferred back home, Patrick is ready to take you. Based in South Florida, Patrick joined CME with a wealth of knowledge and experience in emergency care for patients. We are fortunate to have him on our clinical team and wanted to give you the chance to know a little more about him today.

What is the most enjoyable part of this job: There is no place like home. When someone is sick or injured far from home the process of healing is compounded. The overwhelming joy these folks experience when they finally get home is the best reward. I've never experienced such sincere, heart felt gratitude as I have from these troubled travelers and their families, it can get pretty emotional.  

Where did you gain your experience and knowledge in the field of nursing: I've been a nurse for over 1/3 of a century. My background is ER and ICU. I've worked in major teaching hospitals like the trauma ER at The University of Pennsylvania and The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. I've also worked in small rural hospitals and did international relief work.  I've worked in large for profit facilities as well as local nonprofit and government hospitals. I've also had the good fortune to live and work in Thailand for 5 years, where I met my amazing wife. These varied experiences help me to adapt to most situations. 

What has been your most interesting transport? Why is that: All of my transports are interesting, each one with unique challenges. The most interesting was probably transporting a woman home who took ill while on a family cruise. She was facing a terminal illness and knew her time was short. She became very talkative during our trip and told me about her life, a very interesting story involving multiple continents, the golden age of Hollywood and how proud she was of her very talented children. She didn’t say but it was my belief she may have told me things she had never told anyone else, even her family. Her family contacted me just a few days after I got her home to tell me she passed away at home with her children at her side. It was what she had wanted and I was happy to have helped. 

What areas of expertise do you have experience in? Most of my experience is in the ER large and small. I have also worked in ICU, surgical ICU and CVICU.  

When you are not flying what do you do? I live in south Florida with my wife Pim. We like to ride bikes, explore the many waterways on our stand-up paddle boards and walk on the beach. We also travel yearly to visit with our extended family in Thailand. We always get travel insurance. 

What would you tell future clients of CME? First and foremost, get travel insurance. I've seen it work so well over and over again. Pay attention to local conditions and remain situational aware. Make copies of all of your travel documents and e-mail them to yourself. Most importantly have fun, put down your phones and tablets and enjoy yourself. If trouble comes, we'll come and get you. 

 Please describe a difficult trip and the outcome:  I performed an around the world transport. Miami, JFK, Istanbul, Toulouse, Frankfort, Seoul, Brisbane, LAX, Miami. 52 hours in the air over 6 days. Lay overs in airport infirmaries in Germany and Korea. 6 different lift trucks plane/deplane processes. The client had suffered multiple traumas, was on a stretcher, and required constant care. All transitions went without a hitch, the ground personnel where very helpful, the cabin crews on the different carriers were great. His family was very appreciative. “We were so afraid he would never get home again.” The client had a long recovery ahead of him but he was home with family and friends. It was a great experience.

 

 

 

Marriott International Continues to Expand Across North America

by Lux Joseph 28. January 2015

Commercial Medical Escorts has entered into its Caribbean and Canadian travel season. While we transport patients worldwide throughout the year, we definitely can identify and see trends in the different destinations throughout the year. It is very common for our office to move several patients a week back to different parts of Canada including Ontario, Albert, Quebec, and British Colombia.  When our escorts typically overnight in Canada one of the major hotel brands that is commonly use is the Delta hotels. However, a recent agreement with a major US hotel chain means changes among upscale hotels in Canada.

 

Throughout Canada, the Delta brand has a total of 38 hotels. Marriott International saw Canada as a breakthrough in a market which they do not 100% dominate. When individuals stay at hotels throughout Canada, Marriott International is not the first hotel that comes to mind. However Delta, is a brand that is recognized throughout the Canadian market and Marriott saw that as an opportunity for brand success.    This major acquisition will increase Marriott International hotel count to 120 in all of Canada. Delta Hotels currently has approximately 10,000 rooms. This acquisition will make Marriott International the largest full-service hotel company in the country.

 

Throughout the last decade we have observed a variety of large acquisitions within the hospitality industry. The airline industry being one of the biggest players in acquisition has demonstrated the positive and negative effects that it has on consumers.  Marriott has been aggressively seeking acquisitions to improve its expansion throughout the world. Many companies that expand too quickly find themselves unable to meet their demand, but that doesn’t seem like the future for Marriott. Marriott International has been expanding aggressively so that they can maintain a strong presence in attractive regions throughout the world. Other recent acquisitions include acquiring Protea Hospitality Holdings in Africa and Moxy Hotels in Italy.

 

When selecting hotels for our escorts to stay in, we consider a variety of things similar to things consumers should consider when making their own hotel reservations. The Internet has become a great resource for individuals, but it isn’t always the most accurate. With today’s technology, hotel pictures can also be deceiving or embellished to look better than they really are. We strongly encourage you to utilize Trip Advisor to read up to date reviews or consult a travel advisor. Marriott is a well-known brand, but as you enter into different countries American brand hotels are not always available. Be smart, research your destination and ensure the hotel meets your needs, but is also in a safe area.


Understanding the Tarmac Delay Rule

by Lux Joseph 18. January 2015

Every day we have nurses, physicians, and patients traveling to different parts of the world via commercial airlines.  We arrange travel for our clients on more than twenty airlines and in a single day we can have more than ten transports occurring simultaneously.  With this data, one can only imagine the number of delays that can occur since we are using commercial airlines. It is one of the challenges CME and other medical escort companies face however; it is one challenge that cannot be avoided. Sky Cap Corp, our in-house travel department, works tirelessly to ensure appropriate connection times for our escorts and patients, but one can never tell what type of delay may occur on daily basis due to weather, mechanical, air traffic, or even a strike by an aviation union. CME is fortunate that Sky Cap Corp is continuously monitoring our flights to ensure seamless transfers and if a delay is going to affect a transport a backup plan is in place.
 
If you are traveling alone or made your own arrangements you may be left out in the cold “figuratively speaking” in an event of a delay or cancelled flight. As a passenger it is important for you to understand your rights and what airlines are and are not responsible for. Recently the Transportation Department fined Southwest Airlines $1.6 million dollars for violations of the tarmac delay rule that occurred during a snowstorm in January 2014. But do you know that the tarmac delay rule is and what rights you have?


The Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings issued an announcement in 2011 that outlined the tarmac delay:
 
A reportable tarmac delay is a tarmac delay at a large, medium, small, or non-hub U.S. airport that lasts for more than three hours. The 3-hour limit begins when passengers no longer have the option to get off of the aircraft, which usually occurs when the doors of the aircraft are closed. However, if an aircraft is at the gate with the doors open, and passengers are not allowed off the aircraft, the time limit would start at the point when passengers were no longer permitted to deplane. If the flight that experienced the reportable tarmac delay is reported under the Airline Service Quality Reports required by 14 CFR Part 234, the data for that flight should be reported under Part 234 instead of Part 244.
 
In the final rule, we state that covered carriers should file Part 244 reports for any reportable tarmac delay of “three hours or more.” This standard is inconsistent with the tarmac delay contingency plan requirements under Part 259 and the existing reporting requirements of the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), both of which use a “more than three hours” standard. We intend to correct this inconsistency in a future rulemaking to make it clear that carriers do not need to file a report for a tarmac delay of exactly three hours. In the meantime, as a matter of enforcement policy, we will accept reports under Part 244 that meet the “more than three hours” criteria. For additional information, please refer to BTS Accounting and Reporting Directive No. 303A, issued on August 12, 2011.
 
Europe has a similar policy in place in regards to tarmac delays as well. Keep in mind though, delays due to weather does not require the airline to provide any particular compensation to passengers affected by weather related delays. Within the European Union, if a plane is boarded and sits on the tarmac for more than five hours, passengers will have the right to demand to be let off. If the tarmac delay is more than an hour, the airline must provide air conditioning, use of toilets and water.
 
In reference to recent events surrounding the Ebola virus the tarmac rules do not apply. In the event that a passenger on board an aircraft is suspected to have Ebola or another serious contagious virus or illness, passengers may be held on the plane to ensure health and safety policies are followed. No fines will be assessed to the airline. A safety relation or security related reasons are the only incidents that may exempt an airline from the hefty fine.
 
In the recent incident with Southwest, the assessed fine was much higher than previous incidents recorded by the DOT. The DOT advised this was due to the large number of passengers and flights that were affected. Southwest claimed that is was due to a shortage in staff, and the DOT advised there should be an appropriate amount of staff available as a contingency plan in the future to prevent this from happening again. Weather was a factor in this particular incident, but the DOT is making it very clear that they are serious about their rules and regulations. Southwest’s fine was more than the total amount of fines that have been issued since 2009 (5.24 million).
 
As a passenger on a commercial airline it is critical to understand that the tarmac delay rules don't just impact what happens when you're onboard a flight that's stuck at the gate. Airlines are required to post flight delay information on their websites for every domestic flight. You can even visit www.flightaware.com to see the statistics of on time arrival for a particular flight. You can compare delay trends flight-by-flight (and airline by airline) to lessen your chances of a lengthy delay.
 
If you are subject to a tarmac delay, we encourage you to call the airline or check their website to get information on filing a formal complaint. To learn more about the new federal tarmac delay rules, visit http://airconsumer.dot.gov/, the official site of the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings.


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