Dr. Anna Mariola

Head of Aeromedical Evacuations Office
Director of Anaesthesiology
National Centre of Emergency Care (EKAB), Greece

“Dealing with emergencies in the pre-hospital environment, with patients weighing from 500 grams to 300 kilograms, and ages from one hour to 100 years old, trying to treat and stabilise them, especially in a flight environment for more than 24 years… that in itself is a long story.

My job is difficult, but extremely interesting. Greece is an island country with many inhabited islands both in the Aegean and Ionian seas and their medical infrastructure is not sufficient to cover all seriously ill or injured patients. Because of this, aeromedical evacuations are often needed.

I’ve been doing this job for more than 24 years now. It started as a mandatory one-year civil service after the end of my anesthesiology training. At that time, emergency care in my country did not exist and I saw it as a challenge to stay and help with the urgent, pre-hospital treatment of the severely ill.

We always try to provide the best care for patients in remote areas, although in Greece the possibilities are somewhat limited. In emergencies, the team environment with a specific role for each member of the team is crucial. There is no other way of properly dealing with emergencies.

One experience which really stayed with me was helping premature babies born in rural healthcare settings where there isn’t trained staff. Through aeromedical evacuations, we were able to give them a chance to be hospitalised in intensive care units and increase their chances of survival.”

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