Medical evacuations in the oil and gas industry: a retrospective review with implications for future evacuation and preventative strategies

Toner, Sharyn, Andrée Wiltens, Derkje H., Williams, Hector, Klein, Susan, Marshall, Simon, Nerwich, Neil, Copeland, Ryan and Berg, Johannes (2017) Medical evacuations in the oil and gas industry: a retrospective review with implications for future evacuation and preventative strategies. Journal of Travel Medicine, 24 (3). taw095. ISSN 1708-8305

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Background: Businesses increasingly conduct operations in remote areas where medical evacuation [Medevac(s)] carries more risk. Royal Dutch Shell developed a remote healthcare strategy whereby enhanced remote healthcare is made available to the patient through use of telemedicine and telemetry. To evaluate that strategy, a review of Medevacs of Shell International employees [i.e. expatriate employees (EEs) and frequent business travellers (FBTs)] was undertaken. Method: A retrospective review of Medevac data (period 2008–12) that were similar in operational constraints and population profile was conducted. Employee records and Human Resource data were used as a denominator for the population. Analogous Medevac data from specific locations were used to compare patterns of diagnoses. Results: A total of 130 Medevacs were conducted during the study period, resulting in a Medevac rate of 4 per 1000 of population with 16 per 1000 for females and 3 per 1000 for males, respectively. The youngest and oldest age-groups required Medevacs in larger proportions. The evacuation rates were highest for countries classified as ‘high’ or ‘extreme risk’. The most frequent diagnostic categories for Medevac were: trauma, digestive, musculoskeletal, cardiac and neurological. In 9% of the total, a strong to moderate link could be made between the pre-existing medical condition and diagnosis leading to Medevac. Conclusion: This study uniquely provides a benchmark Medevac rate (4 per 1000) for EEs and FBTs and demonstrates that Medevac rates are highest from countries identified as ‘high risk’; there is an age and gender bias, and pre-existing medical conditions are of notable relevance. It confirms a change in the trend from injury to illness as a reason for Medevac in the oil and gas industry and demonstrates that diagnoses of a digestive and traumatic nature are the most frequent. A holistic approach to health (as opposed to a predominant focus on fitness to work), more attention to female travellers, and the application of modern technology and communication will reduce the need for Medevacs.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Medevac, oil and gas platforms, Medevac rate, offshore workers, frequent business travellers, pre-existing conditions, expatriates, fitness to work, medical evacuation, country risk, repatriation, aeromedical evacuation, female travellers, remote healthcare
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2018 15:27
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2022 16:02

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