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Difficulties with Medical Evacuations


At 7pm, a guide was on a game drive with guests. The guide was traversing uneven terrain and the vehicle overturned. The guide sustained multiple injuries – fracturing his arm, shoulder blades, ribs, pelvis, and leg.

The client contracted the services of Africa SAFE-T a few years before the incident. They acquired preparedness, medical response, and incident management services.


The tracker on the vehicle radioed the lodge which then contacted the Africa SAFE-T Incident Management Centre. The tracker completed our Capacity Building Programme prior to the incident, which empowered him with essential  wilderness first aid skills.

The Incident Management Centre established radio contact with the tracker on the scene. While the doctor on duty assessed the patient by providing instructions to the trained tracker, the emergency care practitioner was activated and responded to the case.  From the initial assessment of the information, by the doctor on duty, it was obvious that the patient would need to be evacuated urgently.

The Incident Management Centre contacted all the local external evacuation providers to find an available transportation unit. The Incident occurred over a long weekend and due to the large number of emergencies in that area there were no external evacuation service providers available.

While the incident management centre was busy sourcing an evacuation provider, our emergency care practitioner provided critical emergency treatment to the patient. The patient was in shock and had multiple unstable fractures. The injuries were stabilised and the patient was prepared for evacuation.

An evacuation provider was secured but would not be available for another 4 hours. The incident management centre decided on the most appropriate incident action plan, which was for Africa SAFE-T to transport the patient to a primary care hospital for further stabilising treatment. The patient was temporarily admitted to the small casualty unit and was supported by the staff there while waiting for the external evacuation provider to arrive.

A few hours later the external evacuation provider arrived at the hospital to take over treatment and transported the patient to a tertiary hospital where a trauma and orthopaedic specialist team was already on standby to receive the patient.


Having access to the incident management centre and medical response ensured that the lodge could focus fully on assisting the patient knowing that help was on its way and the logistics of the evacuation were being managed in a professional manner. Although we do not usually transport patients to treating facilities it was critical for this patient to be transported to a small hospital in the interim due to the extensive nature of his injuries. The patient survived the incident and made a full recovery.

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