Rescuing and fighting for her patients in extreme physical emergencies worldwide is Fran Vogler's passion.

A young college student ice climbing in Patagonia fell 1,000 feet when one of his carabiners (a metal clip that connects a climber to his rope) broke. Unconscious, and with a blizzard blowing in, his climbing friend, who had paramedical training, made an ice cave for him. They couldn't be evacuated for 30 hours.

When aid did arrive, it was in the form of AIRescue International, a worldwide medical air ambulance and air evacuation service company created in 1992 by Malibu resident Francine Vogler, M.D. She is president, medical director and founder of the company. AIRescue transported the climber to a hospital in Chile.

"Dr. Vogler provides an unique and invaluable service for world travelers," said David B. Baron, M.D., of Primary Caring in Malibu. "She brought my patient home from England who had suffered a stroke. The family was very grateful."

Vogler was residency trained in emergency medicine and was an ER physician in the Los Angeles area for 15 years. As a post-grad in emergency medicine at McGill University in Montreal, she experienced a pivotal turn in personalizing patients. While presenting one day, she referred to her patient as the "chest pain patient in Room 4."

Her training physician asked, "Are you speaking of Mrs. Jones in Room 4?"

Vogler went on to recognize a tendency in America that depersonalized patients instead of identifying them with a name and face, and remembering patients as a whole person.

On the clinical faculty at USC, she developed a program teaching medical students how to be effective communicators, enhancing their patient-physician communication. Peter Jennings of ABC World News Tonight did an "American Agenda" segment exploring her pioneering work, which has become a regular part of course work in medical schools throughout the nation.

Her work in medical air transport began with UCLA's clinical faculty and its helicopter MedStar program, until it closed down.

"It was an integrated transfer program involving helicopters, ground ambulance and fixed-wing air ambulance. From 1989 to 1991, the university decided to end the transport program because it was no longer fiscally viable. This closure created a lack of patient services in the area," Vogler said.

Then a call came in from a friend who had fallen and fractured and dislocated her hip in Milan, Italy.

"They told her she had to stay there three months waiting for it to heal," Vogler said. "We found a Gulfstream aircraft for $25,000. Another option: an airline stretcher service for $13,000, and we got her insurance company to pay for it. That was our first case."

"Fran wanted to find a way to provide continuity in the fixed-wing area to transport patients who were ill or injured that needed to be moved in or out of the United States," said David Percelay, husband and spokesperson for Vogler.

The Malibu Times, 3/07

For complete article: Rescue From The Air.pdf





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Malibu resident Fran Vogler, M.D., founded and is president of AIRescue, a medical air ambulance and air evacuation service.

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