When a kiss becomes more than just a kiss

February 23, 2014 12:00 pm Comments Off on When a kiss becomes more than just a kiss

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All of us in health care are often touched by our patients, and we appreciate when a patient expresses sincere gratitude for our services. In providing air ambulance services, Air Trek flight teams are often shown sincere appreciation from patients and families, which is often the best reward for the job.

I recall a particular “grandmotherly” patient whom we flew from Florida. She had completed an extended hospital stay and was finally going home for continued home health care. During the flight, she spoke of how she missed her family and friends and just wanted to be home. In Michigan, we arrived to a welcoming party of family and friends, all lined up to greet her as though she were a hero returning home.

As I was leaning over her stretcher and we began to lift her, she reached up and gently pulled down on my necktie, saying, “Thank you for flying me home.” Then, before I could stop her, she kissed me on the cheek. I can still recall the sincerity in her eyes. Needless to say, this was a most heartwarming moment.

Yes, the rewards of the job.

On a side note, shortly after that, we stopped wearing neckties.

The feedback that we receive after air ambulance flights, such as the following note, is proof to us that we are right where we need to be providing a service that is most gratifying:

“Mom is improving daily, slow but steady. The total experience made a difficult medical situation comfortable, the nurse and paramedic were very caring and professional, and your pilots were professional and friendly, allowing mom and me to feel safe. I actually enjoyed the flight despite the conditions.”

Thank you, (patient’s daughter).

Behind every memorable moment such as this is a company and system set in place to make sure that patient transports worldwide are carried out as planned. Air Trek’s foundation consists of a 36-year-old family business whose formula for success has remained the same for years: focus on being safety-centered while providing the ultimate in patient care.

Air Trek owns and operates six aircraft, including pressurized twin-engine aircraft, Citation jets and a Westwind II jet. Each is fully equipped and staffed to function as a flying critical-care unit, allowing us to provide the best care for our patients. Air Trek differs from other air ambulance services in that we own the aircraft, which enables us to have direct operational control of all aspects of the patient’s transport.

The patient’s family, friends and pets also are permitted to travel aboard the aircraft at no additional charge, pending the availability of seats. Air Trek’s flight coordinators can explain the different seating capabilities for each individual aircraft, then design a personalized and specific plan to meet the transport needs for the patient and his or her family members.

Reuniting families after a medical emergency is often the most rewarding part of our business. Kisses are optional. ■

— Dana Carr is an airline transport pilot and serves as director of operations for Air Trek Inc., which is family owned and operated since 1978 and specializes in helping people travel throughout the world. Air ambulance information is available at www.medjets.com. Aircraft charter and luxury travel info is available at www.airtrek.aero.