How Evac Americas Works
The service operates during daylight hours due to restrictions on flight activity for many airports in Panama. Some are not equipped with the proper lighting and navigation aids for safe operation. Normally, operational hours are from 6 am to 6:30 pm though this varies slightly during the year. In some cases, most notably David and Bocas, we must be airborne no later than 3:30 pm in order to return to safely Albrook Field. Our flight coordinator will explain the timing for each mission we perform.
When a member needs help, their doctor or attending medical professional should call our special transport phone line to start the flight process. If no medical professional is available, the member or someone nearby can call.
Once we receive a call, we ask a series of questions including where the patient is, what the patient’s condition is, who the attending medical professional/doctor is, and we cover several other important points. After this information is received, we then ask our pilots if the flight is safe to proceed, ask our flight surgeon to contact the attending medical professional to assess the patient’s suitability for flight.
The pilot is not told of the patient’s condition until the mission is accepted by our flight doctor. This reduces pressure for a pilot to fly thereby increasing safety for all.
Communication between our flight department and the hospital or medical facility coordinates the timing for the patient’s arrival at the nearest air facility -- usually Panama City.
The aircraft is chosen for the specific flight profile as some airports require Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft. After the Flight and Medical units approve the flight, the aircraft is prepared for the mission and sent to the airport closest to the patient’s location.
The patient is loaded into the aircraft and the flight paramedic assures they are securely in place for the flight.
In-flight, the patient is monitored and cared for so their trip is as comfortable as we can make it. Medical supplies, monitoring equipment, and medical oxygen is available as needed. The equipment and care is to ACLS standards. The doctors agree on any special needs in advance so the patient receives the best care possible.
Once the aircraft arrives in Panama City, it is brought into the charter company hangar where a ground ambulance awaits to transport the patient to the hospital of their choice or one determined by the attending doctor.