Operations in remote areas of the world are, by definition, a long way, either in time or distance, from a location where extensive medical care is available. Often, frontline medical facilities are limited to a paramedic, many times with little support in terms of specialist input or equipment to deal with victims of serious trauma. Injuries that might normally be considered relatively low risk in urban areas within the developed world may rapidly become life threatening in the absence of adequate medical facilities and expertise.

A successful medical evacuation ends when the casualty steps through the door of his or her home and not when the aircraft takes off or the ambulance departs the location of the accident. Achieving this goal involves several different teams of people from a variety of disciplines along the route who need to operate as part of a cohesive team if the evacuation and subsequent treatment of the casualty are to have a successful outcome.

Of critical importance is the need to implement a comprehensive system of care that will ensure as far as possible that a medical evacuation is properly handled at every stage in the process. This paper describes the components of such a system and how it was implemented for a remote location in the Sahara desert.

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