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Corona: Bundeswehr helps Romania and flies out patients

Corona: Bundeswehr helps Romania and flies out patients

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Due to the worsening corona situation in Romania, Germany will be taking in patients from the EU country in the coming days. Bundeswehr will fly sick people to Germany with two special machines for Air Medical Evacuation (AirMedEvac). The first plane took off today. Romania is currently registering around 15,000 new infections a day.

An Airbus A310 stands on the tarmac and receives patients

At the airport in Bucharest, the first patients are to be transported to Germany

Deutsche Botschaft Bukarest

A four-person reconnaissance team from the Bundeswehr Medical Service travelled to the Romanian capital on Friday. The three doctors specializing in anaesthesia, internal medicine and aviation medicine and an emergency paramedic first got an idea of the situation on site and identified patients who could be treated further in Germany. To this end, the team met with the Romanian State Secretary for Emergency Situations, Raed Arafat, and the German Ambassador to Romania, Peer Gebauer, immediately after arriving in Bucharest. Then a visit to the first hospital was on the agenda.

Hospitals at the limit

The hospitals in Romania, especially the emergency rooms and intensive care units, are overburdened by the high number of corona cases. "We have a situation here in Romania in which we simply have to help to relieve the emergency rooms", explains senior field doctor Dr. Florent Josse, intensive care physician from the Ulm Bundeswehr Hospital and member of the investigation team. "Our help is more than just a sign of European solidarity. We can save lives with our help."

The EU flag is waving in the wind.

The Member States of the European Union stand together. The Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) provides fundamental assistance when fighting COVID-19Coronavirus Disease 2019.

Bundeswehr/Detmar Modes

In addition to Germany, other European countries have pledged their support. The Bundeswehr will be reimbursed 375,000 euros of the costs incurred during the relief flights by the European Union's Emergency Support Instrument, ESI for short. The emergency aid program can be used by the EU Member States if a crisis has reached an exceptional level and there is a risk of far-reaching consequences for the population.

Within 48 hours, the team was able to identify 18 patients with invasive ventilation requiring intensive care with COVID-19Coronavirus Disease 2019, who were flown to Germany for further treatment. Their health is reassessed daily as it is very unstable. “The selection was based solely on medical criteria. For example, whether the patients are stable enough for the flight, since this is a strain on the human organism during transport, despite the high-quality treatment options", adds Dr. Josse.

Transport to Germany

The Romanian patients are transported by the Bundeswehr with Strategic Aeromedical Evacuation (StratAE), a specially equipped Air Force Airbus A310. A medical team trained for such flights takes care of the patients throughout the flight. On Monday, six patients were initially flown out, who are being treated further in the Bundeswehr Central Hospital in Koblenz and in four hospitals in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Romanian Air Force is expected to fly more patients to Germany together with a member of the investigation team on Tuesday, and the Air Force is to transport sick people again on Wednesday. A total of 18 patients are to come to Germany for intensive care treatment.

Since the beginning of last year, the Bundeswehr in Germany has been providing administrative assistance in fighting the pandemic and brought patients from Italy and France to Germany during the first wave. The Bundeswehr Medical Service also provided international assistance, once with the operation of an intensive care unit in Portugal and once with the delivery of an oxygen generation system to India.

by Medical Service Press and Information Centre