The idea of Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval (BEAR) was born in 2016 when a 14-year-old boy in a remote village in Eastern Bhutan suffered an injury and could not be saved because he arrived too late to the hospital. His
death could have been prevented by timely resuscitation and emergency care, and his was one of many lives that could have been saved with the right treatment at the right time.
Recognizing this critical need, the Bhutan Foundation supported Bhutan's Ministry of Health, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, and Bhutan Helicopter Services in establishing the BEAR team.
Through the Bhutan Foundation 2017 online campaign, we raised $26,000 for the BEAR team. With your support, we provided the BEAR team with medical equipment to carry out lifesaving missions. The equipment included a defibrillator, portable video laryngoscope, compact suction unit, portable IV pump, neonatal pulse oximeter, and aviation-grade oxygen tanks. The medical equipment enables the team to provide early intervention and improve the quality of patient care during in-flight transports.
Since the inception of the BEAR team in May 2017, the program has been an incredible success, saving more than 100 lives!
The BEAR team has performed remarkable feats, from resuscitating an unconscious woman in hemorrhagic shock to saving the life of a premature baby born at 28 weeks who was in severe respiratory distress. Of those more than 100 lives, 60 otherwise would have been impossible to save given the urgent need for immediate medical treatment and the long journey to the nearest health facility.
The BEAR team's mission is to provide cutting-edge resuscitation and critical trauma care to patients in remote parts of Bhutan. The BEAR team currently consists of eight resuscitation doctors and nurses, ready to provide emergency medical care to patients at the site of evacuation before ensuring their safe transport to a referral hospital. The team is trained to respond to emergency evacuations in extreme altitudes using high-performance helicopters equipped with an intensive-care unit to transport patients safely to hospitals.
As the dedicated team continues to carry out inspirational work all over Bhutan, we hope you will support the ongoing need for equipment and training.