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Air Ambulance Services V/s Ground Ambulance Services


The benefits of air ambulance services over ground ambulance have long been debated by people who have been concerned about the rising costs of patient evacuations. In fact, there was a fierce debate over the unnecessary use of air ambulance services when in 2013 two children were flown utilizing air ambulance services for minor injuries. While some in the EMS industry blamed it on bad decision by the medical staff on the ground, others blamed it on the air ambulance industry itself. Let’s take a look at both these modes of medical evacuation objectively.

What does the NCBI say about Air Ambulance Services?

National Center for Biotechnology Information had conducted a survey on the efficacy of air ambulance services that involved helicopters. A total of 45 patients were included in the study. It was definitively concluded that air ambulance services are much more efficient when it comes to saving time. The report also noted that the need to save time must be equated with the medical emergency before taking the decision. The study, however, was conducted way back in 2006 and the ground reality has changed considerably since then.

Report on Air Ambulance Services by Canadian Journal of Surgery

A more recent study was conducted by the Canadian Journal of Surgery. In fact, the study was conducted last year. The review was an extensive one and collected data over the past decade. The main objective was to compare outcomes between ground and air ambulance services with respect to interventions, injuries and outcomes. A total of 14,440 patients were taken into consideration.

The results left no doubt that the rate of death associated with air ambulance services was much less when compared to ground ambulance services. The reason for this was that the air ambulance services could reach speciality treatment centers within a shorter span of time when compared to ground ambulances.

It must be concluded that the efficacy of air ambulance services cannot be doubted. However, there is a need for careful medical deliberation before opting for an air ambulance.

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