Features February 2014 Issue

Comparing Medivac Services


The procedures are much the same at Global Rescue’s competitor, International SOS, a worldwide provider of medical assistance, security, and evacuation services, with offices in 76 countries.

Patrick Deroose, general manager of International SOS’s Corporate Assistance Division, said recreational sailors in remote regions might best bone up on emergency medicine procedures and acquire long-range communication equipment.

“If you are sailing off the coast of Mozambique, we would have to get you to a port of call that we use,” he said. “We would determine if the best care is locally or whether you must be evacuated.”

International SOS has nine fixed-wing jets that serve as air ambulances. It also partners with an Iraqi company to extract people from war zones. The company makes use of existing aircraft providers but maintains its own planes in New Guinea, Namibia, Singapore, Beijing, and Africa. “And other places where you don’t expect to have aircraft. These are dedicated aircraft waiting on the tarmac for something to happen,” he said.

Like Remote Medical, the company charges an annual membership fee based on a variety of factors.

“For sailors, it all starts with preparation,” said International SOS spokesman Michael Burkhart. “A lot depends on where the voyage is going. We provide country guides, city guides, make assessments of what’s on board, the crew’s medical conditions, and any existing problems. We try to get a basic understanding of each guest on board and that information goes into our files. Based on that, we make recommendations for what they should have on board for first aid, depending on the length of the voyage. It could be up to a full paramedic bag.”

Burkhart said commercial maritime vessels often have a device on board that can monitor a patient’s vital signs and transmit the information via a digital base station to doctors who can analyze the data.


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