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The Unexpected Factor

by Lux Joseph 28. October 2014
Commercial Medical Escorts is privledged to have David E. Hogan, RN, EMT-P as a member of our medical escort team. David exemplifies one of the best medical escorts and has been with Commercial Medical Escorts since CME started. There isn't a month that goes by in which the office does receive a compliment or positive feedback from a patient that was transported by David. David has taken the time to share with us an experience he had on a medical escort mission to Tanzania and how he meets the challenges of this job with an open mind.
 
By: David E. Hogan, RN, EMT-P
 
Even with the best plans for every medical transport there are issues that come up from time to time.  I refer to these issues as the “unexpected factor” or, simply, the uF.  One has to remain calm, be flexible and communicate when they do appear.  This is the story of one such occurrence.
 
During a scheduled transport from Tanzania in Eastern Africa to Texas an unexpected factor occurred as a result of Mother Nature doing her thing.  Two days prior to my arrival in Arusha, Tanzania there was a heavy downpour of rain high in the mountains near the area of the Serengeti Plains.  Little did I know that this little event would directly affect my transport for the patient. 
 
The morning following my arrival in Arusha I was to be transported by ground to the patient’s location during an expected 3-hr roundtrip.  The trip began early on a beautiful morning in Africa.  After a brief encounter with an Arusha traffic jam, complete with cars, numerous motorbikes and herded animals including cows, sheep and goats we made our way out to the highway heading towards Karatu.
 
 
We passed miles of lush green farm and pastureland dotted with numerous Masai village homesteads. 
 
 

At approximately 2/3 of the way to Karatu my driver received a cell phone call notifying him that the one and only bridge to Karatu was washed away.  We immediately turned back to Arusha and I made contact with the company regarding this unexpected factor.  The driver had mentioned to me at this point that there was a small commuter airport near Arusha.  He then contacted his company to inquire about the availability of their services for our transport needs to reach Karatu.  During our return all the necessary arrangements were made and confirmation was received for my flight over and the return with the clients via the small commuter line.  We proceeded to the little Arusha airstrip and I quickly obtained a boarding pass for the flight to the Lake Manyari Airport, approximately 35-40 minutes from the medical clinic where the patient was being treated. 
 

After a short flight via a twin-engine prop plane I arrived to an awaiting driver.  He quickly made his way to the clinic as I noticed several areas where the flood waters had just receded.  Many of the streets were mud-covered and there was little traffic out. 

 
Shortly after our arrival at the clinic and my assessment of the patient we headed back to the Lake Manyari Airport for our flight, arriving some 10 – 15 minutes before the scheduled departure back to Arusha.
 

 

We quickly stored and secured their baggage and the medical equipment for the return flight and departed without delay.  During the short flight back we flew over the affected areas and could clearly see homes and roads washed away.
 
Safely arriving back at the Arusha Airport, we then made our way to the hotel for our overnight stay prior to an early morning departure the next day.  The original itinerary was resumed and we eventually arrived back in Texas many hours later.  Once we reached their home, which was the final destination, I assisted with the setup of the Oxygen Concentrator and gave instructions to both the patient and her spouse. She had a previously scheduled appointment with her doctor on the following day and she needed to have oxygen during the night.  That was the conclusion of a successful transport.   This with completed safely and without any further incidents after the initial uF regarding the washed-out bridge and roadway. 
 
The issue of this unexpected factor was handled calmly and without any delay in the remainder of the patient’s itinerary. In summary, even the best plans could have some unexpected factors appear.  One has to remember to exercise calm and proceed with due diligence, communicating the proper information so that a successful alternative can be reached.  This action is vital when our goal is to successfully complete our patient transports.
 
At Commercial Medical Escorts we do our best to prepare our escorts for any challenges or obstacles they may encounter during a journey, but as David has described to us, there are still things that happen our of our control. All of our escorts are trained to handle situations in a calm manner as David described. We believe in deliverying only the highest quality of service and this is accomplaished through excellenc training, high quality nurses, physicians, and paramedics, and an extremely effective operations team.
 

 

 

 

 


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