Repatriation of a Critically Ill Coronavirus Disease 2019–Positive Patient Across Closed Borders

Florian Pracher, Sidharth Agarwal, Paul Goldrick, Jane Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on the international retrieval of a critically ill, ventilated, coronavirus disease 2019–positive patient from Dili, East Timor, into the intensive care unit of the Royal Darwin Hospital in Australia. The patient had severe respiratory failure, and the medical team in Dili was struggling to maintain adequate oxygenation with a fraction of inspired oxygen of 1 most of the time. This occurred during an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 in East Timor, placing strain on the local health system. Therefore, it was decided to transfer the patient to Australia. Given the closed international borders of Australia, organization of the retrieval and infection control measures were challenging and are described in the article. We discuss the need for a pathway to retrieve critically ill patients into a well-resourced country during a pandemic and the importance of public health measures including a robust vaccination program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-325
Number of pages3
JournalAir Medical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • case report
  • COVID-19
  • international air medical retrieval
  • robust vaccination program


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