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Helicopter Rescue Missions for Emergency Medical Aid at Sea: A New Assignment for the French Military Medical Service?

      Abstract

      Historically in charge of the search and rescue of aircraft in distress alongside military aeronautical crews, the doctors and nurses of the French Military Medical Service (FMMS) also participate in helicopter rescue missions for emergency medical aid at sea off the French metropolitan coast. This public service mission is placed at the heart of force medicine because it can be transposed to external theaters of operations (OPEX). Recent changes in the regulation of medical aid at sea, in particular the creation in 2013 of maritime emergency mobile resuscitation services, initially weakened the role of the teams of the FMMS. However, their 2018 and 2019 activity report reflects the persistence of strong involvement. The "FMMS 2020" model, especially through its "openness" aspect, allows the FMMS the optimal conditions to maintain its position as a key player in this field, particularly through the development of institutional partnerships with the public health service. Associated with their mastery of the air-maritime environment, strengthening the skills in emergency medicine of the military medical teams in charge of this mission appears to be 1 of the main measures ensuring the achievement of this objective and a high quality of care for patients.
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