rootsair
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Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:18 pm

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
 
whitehatter
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:20 pm

Same reasons pubs and other businesses can't. It's public liability and the lawsuit culture which put a stop to it.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
Orion737
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:26 pm

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.
 
legacy135
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:32 pm

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.
 
flybmi330
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:41 pm

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!
 
Catatonic
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm

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.
 
Orion737
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:53 pm

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.
 
BCAL
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:05 pm

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!
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ahlfors
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:10 pm

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.
 
kl911
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:18 pm

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

KL911
 
legacy135
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:21 pm

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]
 
Catatonic
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:22 pm

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.
 
rootsair
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possibl

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:39 pm

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
 
legacy135
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:47 pm

[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.
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:51 pm

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
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:05 pm

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
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Orion737
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:06 pm

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.
 
legacy135
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:14 pm

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.
 
bond007
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:16 pm

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
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Orion737
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:18 pm

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.
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:34 pm

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
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EMBQA
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:38 pm

The reason is there is non onboard. If there is some onboard. it is the personal aspirin of a crew member.
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miami1
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:46 pm

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.
 
BCAL
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:47 pm

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."
 
bwaflyer
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:48 pm

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.
 
Orion737
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:53 pm

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 buy it anywhere, the reason being it is the safest painkiller when used correctly and has few interactions with other drugs paople might be taking.

NSAID's like Brufen and Asprin are often not suitable for peole taking certain other medications, certain anti-depressants for instance.
 
rduramper
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:55 pm

Quoting Orion737 (Reply 16):
can go to my local petrol station and buy a simple painkiller. I am not asked a series of questions by the cashier.



Quoting Orion737 (Reply 19):
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.

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 employee acting as an agent of the company, handing out medication which would leave the company totally exposed from a liability standpoint. It's sad but it is the nature of the litigious society in which we live. Even if the Airline were to provide a vending machine on the aircraft for passengers to purchase their own meds, they probably would be partially liable because of the tendency to go for the individual with the deepest pockets, and they are providing the convenience.
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tavong
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:57 pm

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 18):
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!

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 that get a overdose of it will have kidney/liver disease cause this, anyway the lawyer's argument it's still very valid (unfortunately) an maybe this prevents airlines for taking them on the plane, it's a shame but seems the only valid reasoning here for that decisions.

The anti-emetic drugs are more difficult to manage and can have undesired side-effects more easily than paracetamol (and believe me havein an intoxicaton on this type of drugs is not funny at all) so for these medications i really don't think than an F/A should have it on their pockets.

Just my 2 pesos  Wink

Gus
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Catatonic
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 9:59 pm

Quoting RootsAir (Reply 12):
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

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 medical conditions before you give it.
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:11 pm

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 medical jargon. For example, "He already has 400 mg of lidocaine onboard. He's maxed out."

NSAID's are more risky to hand out than paracetamol. They can lead to gastric bleeding and strokes. Alcohol greatly increases the risk. If someone has a simple stomach ulcer, a dose of ibuprofin could easily turn it into a bleeding ulcer. I wouldn't want to be the FA that has a guy puking blood 30 minutes after I gave him a couple ibuprofin.

Mark
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cha747
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:16 pm

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 the legal aspects and implications of dispensing medicine mid-air. Once upon a time, I remember that all you had to do was hit the F/A call button and you had an entire pharmacy (so to speak) and plenty of drammamine at your seat!

The bottom line really is to bring your own meds, including OTC meds. Nobody is going to take care of you better than yourself!
You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
 
JOSEMEX
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:18 pm

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 types of medicines (Aspirin, etc.) and the flight attendant told me to please take the aspirin from the container, as sh could not give it to me.
 
ual747den
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:44 pm

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 the bathroom or somewhere else where you as a pax can pick them up w/o them "being given to you" by an airline employee. Things like this always happen, I know lots of FA's that carry their own little med kits with them.

Another thing that should be pointed out is that airlines here in the US also carry a medical kit that has pretty much any drug that you could need in the air. If someone is having a severe headache that is causing other problems like nausea the pilot can radio to a doctor on the ground and get authorization to give vicodan and zofran to the pax to make them comfortable until arriving at the destination. They also have morphine and other stronger meds in there to be injected in case of other problems.
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jacobin777
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:03 pm

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, nothing really can be done, especially if a person has some kind of internal bleeding.

Also, due to changes such as pressure in a an airplane, the effects of the drug can be very different also.

I also believe that there would be an increase in abuse for these "meds" in a plane...

Since planes are flown on many different routes, it would probably be a logistical nightmare for them to stock in on a particular plane for sale.
"Up the Irons!"
 
rootsair
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:36 pm

Quoting Catatonic (Reply 28):

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 medical conditions before you give it.

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
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N328KF
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:49 pm

I had a hangover on a LH flight from MUC in 2001 (Hofbrauhaus!) and the FAs gave me aspirin.
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
SATL382G
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:58 pm

Quoting RootsAir (Thread starter):
...many put their medication away in the suitcases !

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 for the flight plus a contingency supply. Several times I've had pax with missing bags come to me and say "You have to find my bag, my insulin is in it!!"

If your life depends on it carry it on your person...
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TimRees
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:05 am

Interesting thread with some rather dramatic health advice and misinformation. As a GP I'd like to point out:

Quoting BCAL (Reply 7):
paracetamol cannot be used if you suffer from any liver/kidney infection.

Not true. I believe you're thinking of impaired liver function/failure. Paracetamol has no effect on the kidney as it's metabolised/cleared from the body via the liver. You would use paracetamol to treat a fever associated with a fever originating in either organ due infection. Aspirin is extreted via the kidney and is toxic to that organ if it is failing or in overdose (same for any NSAID).

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 29):
NSAID's are more risky to hand out than paracetamol. They can lead to gastric bleeding and strokes. Alcohol greatly increases the risk. If someone has a simple stomach ulcer, a dose of ibuprofin could easily turn it into a bleeding ulcer.

I think this is alarmist. There is certainly a risk of gastric bleeding from NSAID's especially in individuals with known peptic ulcer disease but taking one ibuprofen tablet with a glass of wine on a flight is unlikely to greatly increase the risk of perforation or bleeding acutely. Long-term alcohol misuse and concomitant use of NSAID's is not a good idea. So generally correct, just a little alarmist.

I see differences in our cultural approach to medicine either side of the Atlantic within this thread. In the UK, paracetamol is not a POM (prescription only medicine) and can be bought without advice from places such as supermarkets. Its harmful effects are only in overdose (max recommended daily dose 4000mg) but this can be fatal in some cases if untreated. Therefore, the drug needs respect, just like any other drug.

I think that the answer to the problem is to carry your own medications on your person on any flight to avoid this. I doubt that the lawyers would make much of a living out of a couple of paracetamol tablets for headaches, as generally speaking, allergy is extremely rare and there are very few side effects worth mentioning other than avoiding using it in established liver disease and the effects of overdose.
 
GuyBetsy1
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:12 am

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 european and asian airlines still carry some medications for passengers' should they wish it.

Unless your friend asked for a drug with a specific name brand that is unheard of by the flight attendant, he/she will be given something for the pain.

Maybe your friend asked the US flight attendant - I'd like a paracetemol please. Or Panadol (UK name brand).

Do they even know that it's aspirin?
 
SWAFA30
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:34 am

In addition to supplies for more serious medical situations, at Southwest we stock among other things:

Aspirin
Non-Aspirin(acetaminophen)
Anti-Diarrheal
Dramamine
Alka-Seltzer

All are available upon request and are independent of the First Aid kits. The individual doses are sealed and clearly labled. We are trained to deliver the medication unopened and to verify, verbally exactly what we are handing the Customer.
 
YYZatcboy
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:45 am

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 mouth.

The example Liability given to us was this:

Someone has a headache, and they want an aspirin. Aspirin thins the blood. They take the aspirin and Die because their headache was caused by bleeding in their brain. Therefore you just killed them by giving them drugs.

HOWEVER, In Ontario at least, if you act in a reasonable manner and according to your training, you are NOT LIABLE for any problems caused by your treatment. (Ie you are exempt from mal-practice lawsuits.)
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Ken777
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:17 am

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 an autopap on long haul flights. Planning ahead for me includes ensuring the ability to use the autopap.

Over the years I have also built up a small over the counter travel kit to handle problems that I might get hit with. They come in bubble strips and don't take up a lot of room in my "medical equipment bag", which contains the autopap and all my prescriptions. Unfortunately a lot of times the addition has come from experience.

If a medical situation is critical the pilot is going to get the plane on the ground as fast as possible. I've been on a BA HKG- LHR flight that returned to HKG after 2+ hours of flying because a FA became very ill. Airlines don't play around with these types of issues. The legal environment in the US, however, is such that airline policy is going to be very conservative - AA will not allow any medical equipment (including autopaps) to be plugged into their electrical system while BA has no problem as long as you have the proper inverter. With this legal environment a pax would be very wise to carry some basic OTC products with them and not depend on the airlines to be of help.
 
AsstChiefMark
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:49 am

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 the nurse onboard halfway across the ocean when the Advil you gave triggers the guy in 23B to start spewing blood. He might not be alive when we land. I've seen them die within 15 minutes. And the cabin will look like the inside of a slaughterhouse. You guys can take the risk if you want.

Mark, RN/paramedic since 1979
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legacy135
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:13 am

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 information from people with a medical background who can indicate what could happen. On the other hand, when I go over all those statements in this threat now, it looks to me a little bit as taking a pill would be at least as risky as playing Russian Roulette.

I for my part will go now to bed as here in Europe it's midnight. Well I need to think about if this is a wise choice as most people are dying in their bed... even more than from taking advil, aspirin, tonopan, or even cocktails of it....
I guess I take the risk!
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:30 am

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 you actually suggesting that a passenger take responsibility for their own needs?!?  hissyfit 

We can't have THAT, now can we?  rotfl 
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AC345
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:07 am

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 mentioned above. Even if it was patient's own medication, we weren't allowed to help them take it. We could give the patient a glass of water to take the med with, but definitely not allowed to give the pill to the passenger. If they couldn't take it themselves for whatever the reason, we couldn't help them in any way.
 
TimRees
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:12 pm

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 42):
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 the nurse onboard halfway across the ocean when the Advil you gave triggers the guy in 23B to start spewing blood. He might not be alive when we land. I've seen them die within 15 minutes. And the cabin will look like the inside of a slaughterhouse. You guys can take the risk if you want.

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 sewing as you see in the US. I would think that if I was to give an Advil to a passenger as a doctor, and as long as I'd asked the pertinent questions and taken the correct precautions that, any subsequent mishap would be beyond my control and any inquest into this would come down on the medic's side. I expect that could be extended to any good samaritan act if the patient was giving implied consent by 1) asking for the tablet and then 2) taking it voluntarily. I'm sure this principle would apply to cabin crew. I still think carrying your own medicine is the best option though.

I once had to help out on a VS flight across the Atlantic for a suspected heart attack victim. At that time (1996) VS did not carry paracetamol or aspirin in their emergency kit. I was told by the cabin crew that this was because it would be 'raided by the cabin crew to cure their own headaches!' I had to ask for a passenger carrying aspirin to help out and give the man a stat dose for his suspected MI !
 
afay1
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:41 pm

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 anywhere. For this very reason I would be hesitant as an FA to give it to anyone. That being said, a nice Delta FA gave me some Maalox a few years ago which really helped me out, although they are as reactive as children's chalk...
 
UAL Bagsmasher
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:12 am

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 ones to turn around and sue if something happens to them.
 
citationjet
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RE: Asking For Medication On Board;why Not Possible?

Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:20 am

Quoting Legacy135 (Reply 43):
There is always a risk and it is good to know what risks are involved also with harmless medications as discussed here.



Quoting WhiteHatter (Reply 1):
Same reasons pubs and other businesses can't. It's public liability and the lawsuit culture which put a stop to it

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 flight.
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