Physician roles in aeromedical evacuation: Current practices in USAF operations

William W. Hurd, Richard J. Montminy, Robert A. De Lorenzo, Lawrence T. Burd, Brad S. Goldman, Thomas J. Loftus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Physicians play an increasingly important role in the critical medical process of aeromedical evacuation (AE). Incomplete or inappropriate preparation for AE can result in increased patient discomfort, and in the worst cases, potentially serious or insurmountable in-flight medical problems. During military operations and in response to natural disasters, physicians are responsible for four processes necessary for a successful AE mission. These include: 1) AE screening, including determination of appropriate classification, precedence, and special medical requirements; 2) validation; 3) medical preparation; and 4) clearance. Physicians responsible for preparing patients for AE need to understand both the patient evacuation system and the unique medical aspects associated with AE. The U.S. military patient evacuation system is comprised of three principal transportation phases: casualty evacuation; inter-theater AE; and intra-theater AE. Important elements of the USAF AE system are patient movement requirements centers, the validating flight surgeon, aeromedical staging facilities, AE liaison teams, aeromedical crews, and critical care air transport (CCAT) teams. Important medical aspects unique to AE include the effects of flight physiology on medical conditions, oxygen limitations, and distinctive medication and supplies requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-638
Number of pages8
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Air ambulances
  • Emergency medical services
  • Military medicine
  • Patient transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Physician roles in aeromedical evacuation: Current practices in USAF operations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this