Helicopter aeromedical transport of critically patients: recent past and present history

Paula Encarnação, Maria Melo, Maria Lage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Background: Emergency Medicine has its modern roots in the First World War. In Portugal, the first medical emergency system dates back to 1965. The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service of the National Institute of Medical Emergency (INEM) started operating in 1997. Objective: To inform about the history and current situation of the helicopter aeromedical transport of critically ill patients through the two major institutions in Portugal: the INEM and the Portuguese Air Force (FAP). Methodology: A qualitative historical study was conducted through documental analysis of the primary sources provided by the Portuguese Air Force and the National Institute of Medical Emergency, as well as the secondary sources. Results: The results suggest that the creation of a model for sharing air assets between various institutions leads to a more effective and efficient transport of critically ill patients. Conclusion: Further studies should be conducted to reveal the historical role played by the teams of physicians, nurses, commanders and pilots in Portugal.
Translated title of the contributionA pessoa em situação crítica helitransportada: história do passado recente e panorama atual
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2014


  • History of nursing
  • Aeromedical transport
  • Helicopter
  • Critically ill patient


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