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Trans-Atlantic aeromedical repatriation of multiple COVID-19 patients: a hybrid military–civilian model
  1. Andrew Benjamin Dagens1,
  2. J Mckinnon2,
  3. R Simpson2,
  4. C Calvert2,
  5. T Keast2,
  6. N Hart3 and
  7. M Almond4
  1. 1 Royal Air Force No 22 (Training) Group, High Wycombe, UK
  2. 2 Aeromedical Evacuation Sqn, RAF Brize Norton, Royal Air Force, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK
  3. 3 Deployable Aeromedical Response Team, RAF Brize Norton, Royal Air Force, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK
  4. 4 Aviation Medical Clinical Service, Royal Air Force Henlow, Bedfordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Andrew Benjamin Dagens, Royal Air Force No 22 (Training) Group, High Wycombe, UK; drewdagens{at}


Here, we report the first known transcontinental aeromedical evacuation of a large number (55) of patients with known and suspected positive COVID-19. These patients were evacuated from Havana, Cuba, to the UK through MOD Boscombe Down as part of Operation BROADSHARE, the British military’s overseas response to COVID-19. We describe the safe transfer of patients with COVID-19 using a combined military–civilian model. In our view, we have demonstrated that patients with COVID-19 can be aeromedically transferred while ensuring the safety of patients and crew using a hybrid military–civilian model; this report contains lessons for future aeromedical evacuation of patients with COVID-19.

  • respiratory infections
  • aviation medicine
  • infectious diseases

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  • Twitter @dagensdrew, @rosalyn_simps

  • Contributors ABD coordinated the project and wrote the manuscript. JM provided expertise on infection control. RS, CC, TK and NH led the sections on equipment, patient details and risk assessment. The final manuscript was discussed as a group. All authors contributed to the final drafting of the manuscript. MA provided overall direction and advice as well as approving the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.