Does anyone have a policy regarding transporting patients by helicopter with only one care provider? If so, if you have a mixed crew, which care provider goes with the patient and who stays behind? I'm thinking of circumstances wherein its hot and the scene is at a high elevation and the pilot tells you that you are too heavy for patient to be transported unless one of the care providers stays behind (to be picked up later). Do you still fly the patient with one less crew member or do you load the patient up in a ground unit and transport the patient with both medical crew members in the ground unit and the pilot returning to base by him/her self? What if the terrain is such that the ground transport vehicle is no where near the patient? What if the patient has a time sensitive need (severe trauma patient, STEMI, CVA, etc.).
The scenarios are varied: long transport time if they choose to go by ground; no local available ground transport within a reasonable amount of time, etc. Knowing that the crew will be transporting a critical they might spend a little more time on scene to do a few more things for the patient so that the one care provider is not overwhelmed, etc., but the over all result of transporting the patient by helicopter might have a better outcome with one care provider than going by ground with two care providers with a longer transport time.
I'm guessing this is more of an issue for those of us who are located at higher elevations and fly among the mountains. Thanks for the answers.