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Another Good NYT Article: Doctors Called In Flight  
User currently offlineplanemannyc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1007 posts, RR: 8
Posted (3 years 2 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 2812 times:
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/he...doctors.html?pagewanted=1&src=dayp

From the sound of it, I think we keep better track of deaths and emergencies here at a.net than the government.

I am surprised that after so many years, on board emergency kits have not been standardized.What happens if there is no doctor, and only help is from the ground relaying the info to attendants, and the ground doctor can't even be sure of what the kit holds? With standardized kits, the doctors on the ground can instruct crew better.

It was good to read about something that I was not completely familiar with.

Best,

Wasim / Planemannyc

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLVTMB From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 391 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 2 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2528 times:

Good story! Thanks for posting .....

LVTMB


User currently offlineSonomaFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1700 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 2 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2492 times:
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Nice article. It does highlight the need for standardization of emergency kits. Definitely any use of a kit should be documented/reported and the opened kit switched out for a fresh one at the aircraft's next layover.

User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2838 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2469 times:

Quoting planemannyc (Thread starter):
What happens if there is no doctor, and only help is from the ground relaying the info to attendants, and the ground doctor can't even be sure of what the kit holds? With standardized kits, the doctors on the ground can instruct crew better.

While I don't disagree that standardized kits would be a good idea. I believe all US carriers, or at least a majority of them, us a company called MedLink based out of Phoenix. One of the advantages is that MedLink assumes all liability when they are called. MedLink also sells and/or provides kits that meet and exceed regulatory requirements regarding content.

By the way there is a FAA regulation as to what minimum equipment must be kept on board and there has been in one form or another since 1985. The Aviation Medical Assistance Act in 1998 was enacted to determine if air crew training and requirements for air carrier emergency medical equipment should be modified.

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Gu...22dee86256a65006505a2!OpenDocument

That link shows what they have to have on the plane.

Remember, although the air crew may feel a little on an island at FL 350 my recollection of working with MedLink was that if the airline has a telemedical device on board they can transmit vital signs back to the ground to aid in the decision making.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 805 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 2 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2415 times:

We subscribe to MedAire and have for years. Corporate flight dept. Not only is the on-board kit and phone assistance good insurance they will also help us find proper medical help anytime we are away from home and in unfamiliar territory.

Also, annual required training including CPR is good stuff.


User currently offline7673mech From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 708 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 2 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2298 times:
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Quoting SonomaFlyer (Reply 2):
Definitely any use of a kit should be documented/reported and the opened kit switched out for a fresh one at the aircraft's next layover.

Mostly put in log book.
I have a gotten a verbal from time to time.
Sometimes find used O2 containers in the seats.

95% of the crews are diligent with log book entries.


User currently offline737tanker From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 259 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 2 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2049 times:

On all WN aircraft there is a headset with a microphone that allows the F/As, or anyone assisting them, to talk directly with the doctor on the ground from anywhere in the aircraft. This way there is no miscommunication by having to relay via the pilots.

User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 920 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 2 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1864 times:

I was on a WN flight two weeks ago where the headset was used. The sick passenger was around row 5. A doctor on board and 2 FA's were assisting him. The third FA put on the headphones and was clearly talking to the ground doc, but she stood by the front galley and they were pretty much shouting the info between the galley and row 5. I was wondering why she didn't move closer. She had plenty of wire. Was there some cockpit security issue involved? I hope WN staff rehearse this once in a while. Was what I saw planned, or just a random occurrence?

User currently offlineWNCrew From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1441 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (3 years 2 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1740 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 7):
I was wondering why she didn't move closer. She had plenty of wire. Was there some cockpit security issue involved? I hope WN staff rehearse this once in a while. Was what I saw planned, or just a random occurrence?

It is not procedure for the FD guarding FA to be the one on the headset so yes that is a bit odd. Our rule of thumb is the crewmember who discovers the victim remains with them and takes on the responsibility of seeing the situation through. Meanwhile the other FAs are delegated various duties such as paging for onboard assistance and retrieving equipment. Normally the FA who is with the victim would be the one wearing the headset and communicating with the Medical Consultant, in the case of WN, Stat-MD.

It is procedure to station a FA at the FD during a meical emergency because we have to view the emergency as a possible diversionary tactic from tending to security at the FWD cabin, something we are diligent about.

Our EMK, Emergency Medical Kit, is well stocked and almost always replaced at the next downline station when items are used. It is also part of the equipment check prior to each originating leg, crew change, or aircraft change. We are also trained in these procedures yearly including proper radio protocol when using the headset.

When the connection to the ground-based medical consultant is good, the service works well and is incredibly valuable. It can be challenging with a poor connection but everyone has a role, I'd say 99.9% of my colleagues know theirs and we have a plan of action just as we do in any other sort of emergency.



ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinecatiii From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 3029 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (3 years 2 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1695 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 3):
believe all US carriers, or at least a majority of them, us a company called MedLink based out of Phoenix. O

I know that the University of Pittsburgh also provides such a service.


User currently offlinem11stephen From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 1247 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (3 years 2 months 1 day ago) and read 1599 times:

Quoting planemannyc (Thread starter):
What happens if there is no doctor, and only help is from the ground relaying the info to attendants, and the ground doctor can't even be sure of what the kit holds? With standardized kits, the doctors on the ground can instruct crew better.

F/As are far from medical professionals and no offense to any of them but I wouldn't want an F/A attempting to start an IV or administer medication to me even while talking to a doctor on the ground. F/As at UA receive 7.5 hours of CPR/AED training and 7.5 hours of first aid training during initial training. I would assume its similar at most other carriers. In comparison an EMT-Basic isn't even allowed to administer medications and they receive over 200 hours of medical training. F/As may be able to handle basic first aid issues like bleeding, a choking victim or administering a shock using an automated external defibrillator but their training doesn't even begin to cover serious medical emergencies that require the use of medications or IVs. It's a good thing most flights have either a paramedic, nurse or doctor on board.



My opinions, statements, etc. are my own and do not have any association with those of any employer.
User currently offlinepetrhsr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (3 years 2 months 1 day ago) and read 1555 times:

For passengers who have a full-blown cardiac arrest in-flight, it won't make much difference if every other passenger on the flight is a returning home from an international emergency medicine conference. Outcomes for people who require CPR in the community - including on an aircraft - are pretty dismal.

I agree that there is NO WAY that FAs could be expected to start IVs, giving ALS drugs, diagnose and treat dysrhythmias -... I mean, c'mon, most family physicians would be out of their league in that situation. Full-blown resus is hard-core, and best left to those who have specialized training and experience.


And even if the airplane is full of paramedics, ER physicians and anesthesiologists, there's still a pretty slim chance for the patient who's not in a shockable rhythm. Real life is not like those TV shows where the patient has CPR for 30 seconds, wakes up after a single hit from the defib, and is sitting-up in bed eating a steak 15 minutes later.


User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2838 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (3 years 2 months 23 hours ago) and read 1505 times:

Quoting m11stephen (Reply 10):
F/As are far from medical professionals and no offense to any of them but I wouldn't want an F/A attempting to start an IV or administer medication to me even while talking to a doctor on the ground. F/As at UA receive 7.5 hours of CPR/AED training and 7.5 hours of first aid training during initial training.

The FAA stopped requiring F/As be nurses around WW2. The system as it is designed now is not meant for them to be medical professionals, they are just making sure you safely travel from point A to point B. If for some reason you have a cardiac arrest they do the best they can to get you to medical professional alive.

I look at it like this, if you're on a J31 or Q400 the statistics of having a doctor on board are against you. If you really think that starting an IV is that hard, well tell that to 10K's of thousands of 18 year old soldiers because they learn how to do that in advanced infantry training. I could start an IV now, and I don't have any training other than letting my ICU nurse wife practice on me when she was in nursing school.

Look at the required equipment in an airline medical kit. The kit is set up for allergic reactions, cardiac arrest, and dehydration. It's not like the FAA is requiring them to do surgery, administering an IV is something that can be taught to anyone in an hour.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinem11stephen From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 1247 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (3 years 2 months 22 hours ago) and read 1459 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 12):
I look at it like this, if you're on a J31 or Q400 the statistics of having a doctor on board are against you. If you really think that starting an IV is that hard, well tell that to 10K's of thousands of 18 year old soldiers because they learn how to do that in advanced infantry training. I could start an IV now, and I don't have any training other than letting my ICU nurse wife practice on me when she was in nursing school.

Look at the required equipment in an airline medical kit. The kit is set up for allergic reactions, cardiac arrest, and dehydration. It's not like the FAA is requiring them to do surgery, administering an IV is something that can be taught to anyone in an hour.

In my state at least, EMT-Bs (Basic Emergency Medical Technicians) aren't even allowed to start an IV or administer medication. Sure it may not be rocket science but if the law doesn't allow EMTs with over 200 hours of training to do it why would they allow a flight attendant with 15 hours of training to do it? With the relatively frequent amount of medical emergencies it seems that are occurring these days I wouldn't be surprised if airlines started hiring nurses and paramedics as F/As....



My opinions, statements, etc. are my own and do not have any association with those of any employer.
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