Flight Physician

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Mar 8, 2000
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Does anyone know the training required to be certified in 'helicopter' emergency medicine? I am not sure if I worded that quite right. What I mean is, what training does a physician have to do in order to be able to assist in helicopter rescues?


Class of 2004

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In the civilian world, usually there is no physician involved with helicopter rescue -- only paramedics or nurses.

The few times I've seen an MD or DO on a helicopter, they're an ER doc.

Now, if you're talking about the military, the flight surgeons are the ones that get to fly in the jets and helicopters. A flight surgeon is just a fancy military name for a physician that takes care of the pilots and flight crews in a unit. Usually only an internship is required to be a flight surgeon.

If you're really set on helicopters, go for the Army -- they actually have more flight surgeons than the Air Force, because of the number of helicopters the Army maintains. Otherwise, the Air Force is the way to go if you want to go up in the fighters.

Anyone else have experience they'd like to add? I might be a little off on some of my information.
At Univ of IL we (Emergency Medicine residents) have one month of life-flight each year begining with year one.

All flights surgeons (military) must meet the same physical standards that all flight crew members meet in addition they must complete their residency before application into the program (flight medicine-additional training required). Also, the needs of the service ALWAYS come first. Flight surgeons do take care of all the flight crew members, but they also take care of their dependents. Most spend the majority of their time in a clinic or office and fly only enough to fulfill their minimum flying hours and very seldom is this done in a fighter. I speak from personal experience. My spouse has been active duty for 16 years, loves every minute of it, but the perks aren't what they used to be.
Originally posted by RBorhani:
At Univ of IL we (Emergency Medicine residents) have one month of life-flight each year begining with year one.