When you set off on vacation, the last thing you’d ever think about needing would be a flight nurse to provide medical air transport services to get you safely back home. The good news is that experienced and caring medical escort services are just an easy phone call away.
When Minnesota couple Susan and Paul F.* set off for Ft. Lauderdale to catch their seven-day cruise aboard the Allure of the Seas, the thought that they might need a commercial flight nurse to return home never crossed their minds. Instead, they were looking forward to rest, relaxation, and fun in the sun as they explored the eastern Caribbean together. Though Paul was struggling with a persistent cough, he didn’t think anything of it as they boarded their flight in Minneapolis bound for the Sunshine State.
They had planned a leisurely departure on the following day, staying an extra night prior to departure to allow for some sightseeing in the Ft. Lauderdale area before the time came for them to board the cruise ship. But as they made their way south, Paul’s cough grew more severe. By the time they had made their way to the hotel, Paul appeared to be growing weaker and Susan grew concerned that there might be more to her husband’s cough than they previously thought.
While a tickle in your throat is not always cause for concern, many more serious conditions can mimic symptoms of the common cold. Flying exacerbates respiratory issues, so it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you when you’re traveling!
In a definitive moment, Susan decided to take Paul to the local Emergency Room. When they arrived, it was clear that this was the right call – a quick round of vitals revealed that Paul was running a fever of 101.5 degrees and an X-ray showed signs of pneumonia. Paul was admitted right away for treatment. Over the next three days, further testing showed he also tested positive for Influenza A, more commonly known as the flu. His doctor advised that he could go home, but with his oxygen saturation at 91%, he would definitely need supplemental oxygen on the flight.
With their vacation cut short, Susan was left wondering what she should do to get Paul home safely. She turned to the internet for advice, where she found Sky Nurses. As soon as she dialed the Sky Nurses main line, she knew she had come to the right place when she was connected to the Medical Management team right away.
“Although we have traveled extensively,” Susan wrote Sky Nurses, “we have never had our travel plans interrupted by an illness or accident, so this was unfamiliar and uncharted territory for us. After my first conversation with Tara Rose of Sky Nurses, as she took over handling all the details of arranging the flights and the many requirements to bring oxygen on board an aircraft, I felt a wave of comfort wash over me; I wasn’t alone to handle this.”
Sky Nurses provided Susan a quote within a few hours of that call, which Susan eagerly approved. With Sky Nurses handling the logistics of rescheduling the couple’s flights and arranging ground transportation, Susan was free to focus on Paul’s upcoming discharge from the hospital. While Paul was focused on feeling better, the Sky Nurses team contacted the airlines to reschedule the couple’s return tickets, coordinated the approval for in-flight oxygen through a portable oxygen concentrator, and assigned commercial flight nurse Jamie C. to the job.
Thanks to the relationship between Sky Nurses and the airlines, the flights were changed with only the price of the flight nurse’s ticket added to their reservation. Many airlines have fees to change an itinerary on short notice, but having the right documentation and status with the airline industry can help you avoid them, especially when a medical emergency is the cause of the change.
Jamie met the couple at their hotel on the day of departure to complete her assessment of Paul. Once it was confirmed that he was fit to fly, all three passengers set off for Ft. Lauderdale International Airport.
Upon arrival, they discovered their first flight was delayed, but thanks to the generous layover scheduled in Atlanta, there was still enough time when they did arrive to transit through and still catch their flight to Minneapolis on time.
Having a seasoned commercial flight nurse at your side can come in handy when navigating large, busy airports such as Atlanta.
After a second (thankfully) less eventful flight, the party landed safely in Minneapolis. Jamie escorted Paul and Susan through to where their driver was waiting to take them home to Ashley, MN. Before saying goodbye, Jamie took one last set of vitals and relayed her recommendations for future care to Susan. As the driver left the airport, the couple were relieved to be back home where Paul could focus on his recovery.
“As Jamie checked Paul’s vitals one last time and we said thank you and goodbye, it felt as though Jamie was as caring as a daughter, and for that we will forever be grateful.” Susan told Sky Nurses in a later email.
While Susan and Paul never made it on their cruise, we’d like to note that Sky Nurses would have been able to arrange medical transport for Paul directly from the ship if that had been needed. From hospitals or cruise ship cabins, we provide comprehensive bedside-to-bedside medical escort services delivered with compassion.
The above story was compiled from the intake files and stream of constant communications the case managers at Sky Nurses receive from the clinicians and air medical escorts throughout the repatriation trip with our patient. When you travel with a flight nurse from Sky Nurses, you’re travelling with an entire team of medical professionals and travel agents.
*We take privacy very seriously. All names have been changed to protect patient and clinician privacy.