Medical evacuation from abroad of critically ill patients: A case report and ethical issues

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Rationale:Patients repatriated from foreign hospitals are sources of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) bacteria outbreaks. Thus, an individual benefit potential for the patient opposes a collective ecological risk potential. These ethical issues have not been well studied.Patient concerns:We report the case of a 74-year-old patient repatriated from Mauritius to the French island of Reunion who presented mesenteric infarction evolving over several days, and who suffered a cardiac arrest before transfer.Diagnoses:In Reunion Island, a CT-scan revealed a multisegmental enlarged parietal enlargement associated with free peritoneal effusion and a suboccluded aspect of the superior mesenteric artery.Interventions:Surgical exploration showed a severe mesenteric infarction with peritonitis, and a resection of 120cm of the small intestine was conducted. This patient was infected with a vanA glycopeptide-resistant Enterococcus faecium and a carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae which produced carbapenemases NDM-1 and OXA-181, which required specific care and could have led to a local epidemic.Outcomes:The patient died after 9 days after being admitted to the ICU.Lessons:Repatriation of critically ill patients from abroad should be considered according to ethical criteria, evaluating, if possible, the expected benefits, and ecological risks incurred. Limiting unnecessary transfers could be an effective measure to limit the spread of XDR bacteria.

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