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Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?  
User currently offlineRootsAir From Costa Rica, joined Feb 2005, 4186 posts, RR: 40
Posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5306 times:

Hi folks

A friend of mine has come back from a rather long trip all the way from SCL. On board he started having a huge headache ! He asked the fA's if they had aspirin or some other medication that would put away his headache. They replied they had nothing.

Its not the first time I hear that; including me...once I had a headache and they had nothing; a cousin of mine was sick and they had none of the anti vomiting drugs.

I would like to ask why airline's cannot hand out at least an asprini to passengers with headaches! After all tis an over the counter medication and the passenger is meant to know well if he can take that medication or not. I'm not saying all medications should be allowed to be handed out by FA's but at least the basic ones everyone keeps at their homes! After all not everyone has the reflex top take aspirins with them on board and many put their medication away in the suitcases !

Regards


A man without the knowledge of his past history,culture and origins is like a tree without roots
58 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineWhiteHatter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5304 times:

Same reasons pubs and other businesses can't. It's public liability and the lawsuit culture which put a stop to it.

User currently offlineOrion737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5295 times:

Its ridiculous. Asprin and Paracetamol arent even sold by a pharmacist over a counter in the UK. They are readily available from garages, pound shops, and corner shops so I fail to understand why an airline cannot stock basic painkillers and anti-emetics.

Will they soon no longer be able to sell soft-drinks because they can lead to teeth damage? its pathetic.


User currently offlineLegacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5286 times:

I was working for Swiss charter airline Balair up to 1994. Be did have the same pharmacy on board as Swissair. This box provided full medication for about anything that was not severe. Don't ask me about legal aspect. I don't know either if this is still available on Swiss International Air Lines. But I think it is a good thing and basically the crew is doing nothing else than any pharmacy. They have a range of non-prescription medication with the only difference it was for free.
There was a so called "doctors kit" as well. This was locked with a key, which was with the Senior F/A. This doctors kit was only to be used by a doctor of medicine. So if there was a medical emergency on board and the crew found a doctor, this kit provided the minimum to treat the ill person.
I think those kits were a good thing and hopefully they are still available.


User currently offlineFlybmi330 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5270 times:

At bmi, we have first aid kits containing all sorts of stuff, including paracetemol and aspirin. Also, all the Cabin Service Managers and Flight Supervisors have a small kit with them, again containing paracetemol, aspirin, etc.

If some-one's got a stinking headache on a long flight, and they're not allergic to the above medication, it makes sense to give them a couple of pills, and that's what we do!


User currently offlineCatatonic From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 1155 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5260 times:

Legal position: If the person has an adverse reaction to this medication then the airline are responsible as the ones who administered the medication will end up in the shit. Some over the counter medication, such as Brufen can cause serious gastrointestinal bleeds, as can aspirin. Also people can have allergic reactions to these medications. There is a subtle difference between self administration (which the airline would not be responsible) and the airline administering medication (which they would be responsible for). Its a litigious minefield and unfortunately these are the days we live in!


Equally Cursed and Blessed.
User currently offlineOrion737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5251 times:

I cant see that a simple painkiller like Paracetamol should cause too many problems and on a long flight for a passenger with a headache, it would be a blessing.

I always assumed that airlines did carry basic medications like Anti-emtics and painkillers. I always thought that if a passenger got violently air-sick that a cabin crew member would be able to dispense a simple travel-sickness pill.

Cabin crew are not pharmacists, nor does one expect them to dispense dangerous drugs but I cant see the harm in an Asprin.


User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5241 times:

Quoting Orion737 (Reply 2):
Its ridiculous. Asprin and Paracetamol arent even sold by a pharmacist over a counter in the UK.

In legal terms there is a difference between selling a drug, whether an aspirin, paracetamol or whatever, and administering a drug to a person. Apart from some people being allergic to even the mildest drugs, you must remember that paracetamol cannot be used if you suffer from any liver/kidney infection.

If you administer any drug, you have to be assured that the patient is not allergic to it, so why risk a potential law suit when it can be avoided by not giving the drug in the first place? Of course, if it was a matter of life or death, the situation would be different.

Unfortunately we live in a world where litigation is loved and there are lawyers who can smell a lawsuit at a hundred miles and will go rushing in for a piece of the action. I remembered reading once that someone helped a colleague at work when he was badly scalded, but his "good samaritan" act made it more difficult for the doctors so the good samaritan was sued by the patient for causing additional stress and suffering!



MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineAhlfors From Canada, joined Oct 2000, 1347 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5229 times:

Quoting BCAL (Reply 7):
In legal terms there is a difference between selling a drug, whether an aspirin, paracetamol or whatever, and administering a drug to a person. Apart from some people being allergic to even the mildest drugs, you must remember that paracetamol cannot be used if you suffer from any liver/kidney infection.

In that case, they should at least make it available for purchase. Or have a machine dispense it directly to the patient. There are many ways of getting away from the administering part if you really want to provide that service.


User currently offlineKL911 From Czech Republic, joined Jul 2003, 5147 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5218 times:

Just take 3 glasses of whiskey, kills more pain then you think. ( even that is not for free anymore on many US carriers...)

KL911


User currently offlineLegacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 26
Reply 10, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5207 times:

By realizing what these battalions of lawyers are causing and making desicions of common sense impossible I would love to start a law suit against those lawyers as for example thousands of peoples had to suffer for hours from terrible headache as there was no pill available on board due to those lawyers...
Going by the dimension those lawyers are thinking, I guess 10'000 $ per person per headache would be adequate....

No seriously, where do we end up going on like this? There are persons suffering from a strawberry allergy and they really get in trouble consuming those. Did ever somebody hear about that airlines are not supposed to serve strawberries any more? My dad is suffering from diabetics, any airline of the world could kill him by a really strongly sugared coffee. They still serve it and I think it is good so, because the person who does not support this coffee needs to know. All this is a matter of common sense and should be treated as this. The person suffering from a allergy normally knows this and it is in this persons responsibility to indicate so. Sure, in airline business we are dealing with laws of different countries. So I think the legal department of the airlines, maybe even the ICAO or the IATA should develop a legal way that does allow to give mediation and prevents the carrier from any legal case. I am sure, this would help many people.

[Edited 2005-06-13 13:22:52]

User currently offlineCatatonic From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 1155 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5203 times:

Quoting Orion737 (Reply 6):
I cant see that a simple painkiller like Paracetamol should cause too many problems

Well you would think so, but can you guarantee that every time you dispense that paracetamol the person you are giving it too isnt going to have an adverse reaction. You dont know any underlying medical conditions that person could have that paracetamol would aggravate such as asthma, liver disease etc. You dont know what medication they have taken before that could interact with paracetamol or whether they have taken a dose of paracetamol before and would now exceed the dose. You cannot say for definite that this person has taken paracetamol before snd that this would be the first time they are taking it and may have an allergic reaction. See....a litigious minefield.



Equally Cursed and Blessed.
User currently offlineRootsAir From Costa Rica, joined Feb 2005, 4186 posts, RR: 40
Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5180 times:

Quoting Catatonic (Reply 5):
Some over the counter medication, such as Brufen can cause serious gastrointestinal bleeds, as can aspirin.

These medications, known as Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) do produce those effects you have mentioned ! However, this effect is obtained with a prolonged use. Thus there are two things to take into account

1) One time you take it won't cause you any problem

2) The person might take the medic on a regular basis (e.g Aspirin to prevent heart attacks) and thus they are aware of the problems these may cause. Plus I'm sure they'll carry the medics on them and if this was not the case, taking an extra one won't make things worse. If the person then has secondary effects its not the airline's fault as the person already took that medication before.

Thus I don't see why airlines shouldn't hand out basic Analgesics and Anti-Emetics

[Edited 2005-06-13 13:45:09]


A man without the knowledge of his past history,culture and origins is like a tree without roots
User currently offlineLegacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5159 times:

[quote=RootsAir,reply=12] If the person then has secondary effects its not the airline's fault as trhe person already took that medication before.

Thus I don't see why airlines shouldn't hand out basic Analgesics and Anti-Emetics[/quot

I absolutely do agree with you. Furthermore in the box of the medication is the sheet with all the contraindications, who shouldn't take it etc. (in some countries this is printed on the outside of the box)
So it really is possible for everybody to read and understand this. If there is somebody not able to read it or to understand the language it is printed, I am sure every F/A on the world working for a halfway decent carrier will be more than happy to read it to the person and to ask if it is understandable. So there is still room to not give the medication in case of any doubts.


User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 5149 times:

Paracetamol (acetaminophen in North America) is not good for the liver. In fact, it's very toxic. Anything more than 4000 mg in a 24 hour period can cause permanent liver damage. That's only 8 extra-strength tablets a day maximum.

Paracetamol is found in many cold medicines and other pain medications (Vicodin, Percocet, etc.)...often in doses up to 750 mg of paracetamol per tablet. The majority of people don't realise this and therefore don't factor it into the daily total dose of paracetamol. You wouldn't believe how many hundreds of patients have told me, "I took a couple of "XYZ" cold capsules and two extra-strength Tylenol an hour ago." That means they took at least 2000 mg of paracetamol in one dose. Then they go on to do that four to six more times in the next 20 hours. These people are killing their livers faster than a two liter a day boozer.

As a Registered Nurse, I NEVER give anyone paracetamol (or any other medicine for that matter) when off-duty because I'm personally liable if they have an adverse reaction. If, by chance, they are diagnosed with liver failure two weeks after I gave them paracetamol, they might remember that I gave them the medication. Their lawyer would have a field day!

Mark


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14030 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5127 times:

Paracetamol is a special problem if taken after alcohol consumption. Paracetamol and alcohol taken together increase the risk of liver damage.

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracetamol

Jan


User currently offlineOrion737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5125 times:

I can go to my local petrol station and buy a simple painkiller. I am not asked a series of questions by the cashier.

It is true that paracetamol when taken above the recommended dosage can cause liver malfunctions. I dont think the Cabin crew would give the passenger the whole bottle!

Truth is Paracetamol is the safest and most commonly used painkiller. When taken correctly it is very unlkely to cause side-effects, much less so than other painkillers such as Brufen or Asprin. It is so safe that their are no conditions of its sale in the UK. It is a recent condition that no more than 16 can be purchased at one unless over the counter of a chemist but it can be sold anywhere and without any question needed to be asked of the purchaser.


User currently offlineLegacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5108 times:

I think nobody here puts in doubt that paracetamol can cause serious problems to health if consumed in overdoses.
I think this or similar examples still don't justify that airlines do not have anything on board that could help if somebody really doesn't feel well.
There are other means of consumables on board that can result dangerous but which are completely legal.
We also could look at it in another aspect: In case of an emergency a person suffering from a serious pain who could not get any help as there is no pill available on board, is unable to evacuate the airplane as fast as necessary.... so?
I think we are in best shape if we feel good and therefore everything reasonable should be done that people feel good. This can include a harmless medication or lets say a medication in a harmless does.


User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5417 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5098 times:

Wow, why is this such a big deal?

You'll learn next time to carry a few of them in your carry-on, or in your pocket ---- problem solved!

I'm sure if you've had asked a few pax in the cabin they would have given you one.

Sure, the lawsuit reasoning is ridiculous but unfortunately it's fact ... don't they say put all medications in your carry-on....add a few OTC headache pills in there.

As for Paracetamol being 'dangerous', this appears to be extremely exaggerated information. The only cases I could find is from people taking huge overdoses of this, and having liver problems.....well read the label and the drug is one of the safest out there!

Keep taking the pills....


Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offlineOrion737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5092 times:

Agree completley. No one is suggesting cabin crew start handing out prescription painkillers like Codeine but a simple 'safe' painkiller like Paracetamol that is widely tolerated, readily available and has few negative interactions with other drugs patients might be taking should be offered to passengers who ask for it.

User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5073 times:

But the cabin crew doesn't know how much paracetamol the passenger has onboard.

Willingly purchasing medication at a shop isn't the same as having it handed to you upon request. Also, the line is crossed when someone being paid in a "caregiver" role hands out a medication. That's why teachers, daycare workers, healthcare workers, police, etc. don't hand out meds without a written physician order or written parental permission. To make things as simple and safe as possible, most companies/agencies simply develop a "no meds" policy.

Mark


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5058 times:

The reason is there is non onboard. If there is some onboard. it is the personal aspirin of a crew member.


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineMiami1 From Australia, joined Feb 2001, 706 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5044 times:

Our airline carrier both the Physician's Kit (locked away ofcourse!) and a standard General First Aid kit with bandaids, safety pins etc. It also contains Gastrolyte (an elctrolyte replacement), paracetemol, and Alka Seltza (for upset stomach).

We can offer (recommend) Gastrolyte to pax for conditions listed in our Manual as an electroylte drink cannot harm you. Paracetemol and Alka Seltza must be SPECIFICALLY requested. ie A pax must say "I want paracetemol." If they mention they have a headache we can only give water and offer "anything else..." to prompt the pax to ask.

We cannot tell the pax to take a particular dose. We give them the blister strip (contains about 10) and a glass of water and take the strip from them when done.

I often wonder if that is enough to prevent litigation as we do not give them any box with dosage guidelines written on it for pax to consult.


User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 16
Reply 23, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5042 times:

Well I have a perfect solution to the problem about asking for medication on board. Why not give a passenger who asks for an aspirin or paracetamol a placebo. Chances are the passenger might feel better in the belief that he has taken something.

As to being able to buy aspirin or paracentamol over the counter, in the UK you are only allowed to buy three packs maximum in a single purchase. Cannot understand this, as you could easily go to another place and buy more or get someone else to buy you some more.



MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineBwaflyer From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 689 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (9 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5036 times:

As far as I'm aware, pretty much every UK airline has to carry a first aid kit on board, and we certainly hand out paracetamol to passengers on request. We have a short form asking passengers various questions, and we ask them to sign it to show they are aware of the answers they have given and accept responsibilty. We'll hand out 2 tablets and no more during the flight. Simple, easy, and transfers the responsibility onto the passenger.

25 Orion737 : Very sensible. The rule on maximum of three packs being sold in one purchase is the only condition of sale for paracetamol in this country. You can bu
26 RDURAMPER : Remember, the key difference is the fact of an individual purchasing the product on their own in which the airline would not be liable, or having an
27 Post contains images Tavong : In fact altougth Paracetamol side-effects are know and exposed before it's also on of the safest drugs possible, even in overdoses not ALL people tha
28 Catatonic : If you give it to someone with an ulcer it can produce that effect a lot sooner. That's why I said you have to be aware of a persons underlying medic
29 AsstChiefMark : But the cabin crew doesn't know how much paracetamol the passenger has onboard Sorry. By "onboard" I mean how much the patient has already taken. It's
30 Cha747 : So the most impressive part about this thread is that more people from countries other than the U.S. (known for its rabid lawyers) are weighing-in on
31 JoseMEX : FWIW, a few years ago, while on a CO MAD-EWR flight I went to the rear galley and asked for some aspirin. They had a small container with different ty
32 UAL747DEN : Like everyone is saying you can give out meds as a FA because of the liability. Now that said, I have been in situations where a few pills end up in t
33 Jacobin777 : Part of the problem is because of the fact the plane is a closed tube, and possibly in the air for many hours, if the person has a bad reaction, etc,
34 RootsAir : Ok if he doesn't yet know about his ulcera. but if he's had it diagnosed he'll have had the medical advice not to take the NSAID 's
35 N328KF : I had a hangover on a LH flight from MUC in 2001 (Hofbrauhaus!) and the FAs gave me aspirin.
36 SATL382G : Hey gang I gotta comment on this putting meds in your suitcase business. It's a bad idea!! Pax should carry on their person whatever meds they need f
37 TimRees : Interesting thread with some rather dramatic health advice and misinformation. As a GP I'd like to point out: Not true. I believe you're thinking of i
38 GuyBetsy1 : Airlines MUST carry a First Aid kit on board. And this does not include the simple medications like aspirin or alka selzer. As far as I know, major eu
39 SWAFA30 : In addition to supplies for more serious medical situations, at Southwest we stock among other things: Aspirin Non-Aspirin(acetaminophen) Anti-Diarrhe
40 YYZatcboy : I was told in my first aid training that you can give someone regular meds if you only put it in their hand. It is up to them to put them in their mou
41 Ken777 : I've had to learn to plan ahead, in terms of medical issues, when flying. I have sleep apnea (along with about 10% of the population) and have to use
42 AsstChiefMark : I see a dozen GI bleeds a year that are directly related to NSAID ingestion. And those are in people with no previous history of them. I'd hate to be
43 Legacy135 : There is always a risk and it is good to know what risks are involved also with harmless medications as discussed here. It is very worthfull to get in
44 Post contains images EA CO AS : Wow, why is this such a big deal? You'll learn next time to carry a few of them in your carry-on, or in your pocket ---- problem solved! Wait - are yo
45 AC345 : I used to work for VIA Rail (Canadian train company), and we were not allowed to give our passengers any medication either, for all the reasons mentio
46 TimRees : I agree with your experiences but I still think this is slightly alarmist. I don't think in the UK, at least, there is the same environment for sewin
47 Afay1 : Paracetemol also should NEVER be taken by people taking certain anti-depressants/sleep aides which is why it is not sold over-the-counter in the US an
48 UAL Bagsmasher : You can thank all the sue happy, frivolous lawsuit wielding lawyers for it. The same people who complain about things like this are usually the first
49 CitationJet : You can't get a aspirin, but the airlines are adding heart defibrilators to their aircraft to help someone if they have a heart attack during the fli
50 AsstChiefMark : Paracetamol is called acetaminophen in the USA. It is an OTC (over-the-counter) drug. Mark
51 Mandala499 : Ever had a person allergic to paracetamol getting an allergy attack after taking paracetamol? I almost sued a hospital for that(but that's a different
52 Gigneil : Paracetemol is the same thing as Tylenol, which is the single most sold drug in the United States and is completely over the counter. N
53 Isitsafenow : If you are a patient in a hospital in Michigan, a nurse CANNOT give you ANY medication, over the counter or prescribed without a Doctors order. Why wo
54 Gigneil : Nurses in most states are not limited in that way. N
55 Bongo : It happened to me as well last month on an AV flight from MIA to MDE. And the F/A told me that he couldn't give any medication as an AV employee, but
56 Isitsafenow : GIGNEIL.......and now you know why hospital around the country are in litigation every day. Some one coughs after taking a pill and its call SAM. Its
57 TimRees : Sorry this simply isn't true. Even in the UK we wouldn't sell a drug OTC if there was serious potential for interactions with commonly prescribed med
58 Starlionblue : I have never had a problem getting a Tylenol on board whether the carrier is US or Euro. I don't really see why not..
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