In this research, I want to discuss the effect of altitude in oxygenation in patients transported in air ambulance. Having the air ambulance as a frequently used mode of transport for transporting patients for treatment, it only wise to understand what they go through and how their lives can be made easier or more comfortable.
Air ambulance dates back as early as 1910. It might have not been known by this name then but wounded soldiers were taken to hospital using this means during World War two. It has continued being used since then though it is more used today than it was before. I have clearly noted that air flown patients do not have as much fun or smooth journey as we think since we feel that there are no traffic jams, rough roads or even late arrivals to the hospital that they have to deal with. Though this may be true, they still have their own set of problems to deal with. One of these problems is oxygenation and altitude caused problems. They normally experience the very same problems that we experience when we are taking a normal flight to a certain destination (Baker, 2008).
My main study objective is to know the difficulties the patient passengers go through especially with these matters that are concerned with altitude and oxygenation. I want to understand the difficulties, being uncomfortable, irregularities and solutions we can find in order to make the lives of these patients easier and satisfying. These patients have a lot of pain and other more complicated problems and so giving them a comfortable journey is the least that can be done to them.
Altitude and oxygenation related problems include anoxia, decreased humidity, difficulty in moving, hypoxemia, nausea, just to mention but a few.
There are different methods that might be used in order to get some information or in order to gather some statistics. These methods are all used in order to ensure that the information gathered is more accurate and of significance. One of the methods I have used is talking to people. This is not just any person that I find but people that have either been flown to the hospital by an airplane or had close people (family members or relatives) who had been flown so that they had escorted for treatment (Hornbein, 2001).
Though it was not easy finding them or getting them to talk, it was worth it for they told me some of the difficulties they experienced especially related to altitude and oxygenation. One of the major difficulties and one that is experienced in normal flights is the nausea feeling. This is a problem caused by the pressure difference and the sudden change of altitude levels. The feeling of some kind of the middle ear blockage is other inconveniences that patients complained about (Søreide & Grande, 2001).
Another research method I used is having personal interviews with patients who had been air flown, people who had been with people who were being air flown or were from being air flown, medical personnel who were in the air the air ambulance department and other people who I felt could of importance to me. This research has been carried out from the January of 2009 to the December of 2010. Personal interviews helped me to gather as much possible they also avoid the use of third person's interpretation and findings. I interviewed a couple of medical practitioners who were in this department (Kovacs & Adam, 2007).
These people got to brief me on some of the problems and difficulties the patient passengers complained about during the take off, the flight and during landing. Though there a couple of things that have been done to improve this problems/difficulties, it still cannot be called a stress free journey.
Another method I used is reading literature material associated with air ambulance, altitude and oxygenation. Though it might not be up to date, it helps in assessing the current situation and the past events. It also helps one know what other people said or thought in the past (Wheeler & Wong, 2007).
Literature by Mahadevan and Garmel (2005), Aerospace Medical Association (2007), Hurd and Jernigan (2003), Tice and Rankin, just to mention but a few are some of the places I have gotten information from. I have also visited online sites which have also proved of some help to me. One of the sites I visited was the U.S Air Ambulance site.
As seen a number of people really experienced a lot of difficulties during the flight and especially during the take off and the landing. Nausea was one of the problems that are mostly experienced although it is also experienced in other normal flights. Other problems experienced are mostly due to the effect of the pressure trying to equalize. The blockage of the middle year was also felt although there are remedies provided to these problems (Garrett & Kirkendall, 2000).
The other difficulty felt is that of hypoxemia. This is a situation whereby there is decreased pressure in blood oxygen. This is made worse because the passenger is already sick. This may sometimes bring another whole bunch of problems like difficulty in breathing, nose bleeding, headaches, just to mention but a few (Houston & Zeman, 2005).
Though these problems are not as bad as they were first experienced, they really have not been completely eliminated. Remedies have been put in place to improve the situation and to make the flights as comfortable as possible; we surely cannot say that we are going to travel with no discomforts here and there. In some cases the customer is advised to chew gum in order to reduce the pressure in the middle ear if they are in a position to (Porter, 2008).
Oxygen masks are also given to these patients so that the oxygen pressure in the blood is regulated. Patients are encouraged to lie down and are frequently turned to avoid tissue loss or other types of discomforts.
The ethics of this research protocol have been full y observed. The anonymity of some of the people I interviewed or even talked to has been fully maintained. The paper is not made to criticize the air lifting mode of transporting patients but rather to show that though it may be very efficient, fast and luxurious, it may not be as stress free or without problems like other modes of transport as people may think or assume (Heuer, Scanlan & Sinopoli, 2009).
I have appreciated the resources I have used other than my own or other places I have found helpful information other than interviewing and talking to people. This information may not be 100% precise or accurate but I have tried my level best to give as much information as possible related to the topic to try and support my research. I have tried to avoid any assumptions without getting the relevant supporting information so that it can be highly effective (Plowman & Smith, 2007).
This research has taken place at the right time. This is because the air ambulance is more in demand nowadays than it was some twenty or so years ago. People are finding this mode of transport more efficient and faster while others use it simply because they do not have a chose especially when one is going to get treatment from abroad (Blackburn, 2007).
The research has also been done over a considerable period of time to ensure that the information gotten is relevant and accurate. The data has been collected over a period of two years i.e. from January 2009 to December 2010.
The interviews have been done with different people of different status so that a variety of information can be acquired. The period of time used has ensured that the information gotten is very essential accurate and has endured the test of time. This ensures that one has accurate results and data to compile and make a conclusion (Wilmore & Kenney, 2008).
The funding of this project has been quite a challenge for much of the money has come from my pocket. The college has tried to assist us in an amount of money though it has not been enough. Booking interviews and travelling to places that I had to find my own accommodation has been quite a challenge especially since it needs money.
The education supporting organizations have also assisted in funding this project and that is why it has been a success. This research is not done within a limited area. I have had to travel to countries like Australia, South Africa, India and Russia in order to acquire information and for further data collection (Farris, 2008).
All in all it has not been as some other projects that have been researched earlier, so I cannot complain a lot.
I have encountered a couple of problems here and there when carrying out my research. One of the problems that I have even mentioned earlier is the funding. A better part of the funds used have had to come from my pocket. This is because the funds given by the school and the supporting organizations are not enough.
I have done a lot of travelling, staying in hotels, booking private rooms and offices so that I could meet with people I was either interviewing or just talking to (Frisancho, 1993).
Another problem experienced is finding the right and willing people to talk to or interview. Many people were not willing to talk about it as they were afraid that they was something more than just wanting to collect the necessary data for a research project. Other people are just arrogant in nature and so dealing with them was quite a task. The whole experience brought bad memories to some especially if the journey did not give the anticipated results (Wilkerson, 2010).
Another challenge was found in travelling. Most of the time, I just travelled blindly without knowing specifically where I was going. I just to take a flight to a place like South Africa, a place I had never been before, then know my way around when I was there. This was very risky as there are times I would loose some of my belongings like it happened in India. Tourists and visitors to countries are really exploited especially because they are not familiar with that country's currency and are also not familiar with the pricing of the different goods and services. In other countries, visitors are normally charged a higher price than the locals. This did not spare me and so more cash was used (Panté, 2009).
Another problem was the enormous amount of time I had to spend away from home. This was really difficult for me as I have a family and they had to really understand. I also had to spend a lot of time with books gathering the relevant data and so this would keep me up for hours (Cameron & Jelinek, 2006).
I also have a part time job and so juggling between this two demanding activities was also a very tiring activity. This meant sacrificing a lot of my social life and my personal rest time.