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SaUL
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REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:58 am

I need to find out what is the current policy and practice among airlines regarding passengers who assist in an inflight medical emergency.
1. Do airlines compensate, or reward passengers who assist? Or are they simply given a thank-you-letter?
a. is the reward commonly in the form of airline miles, or a commemorative gift/token?

Thank you very much for your quick replies - it would be very much appreciated. :D
 
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DocLightning
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:35 am

I'll tell my story. I was in my last year of residency and I was flying on DL from JFK to SFO for an interview. As I boarded this 752, I noticed a very old woman in the first row of Y on oxygen. Her mouth was hanging open and her tongue was hanging out one side and she was obviously in a depressed state of consciousness. In medicine, the slang for this is "a positive Q sign." Open mouth with the tongue hanging out. Generally a sign of end-stage neurodegeneration of the CNS (dementia). So I sat down and prepared for a medical emergency in-flight. I'm a pediatrician and I am not managing a nonogenarian on oxygen on a plane. I'm telling the captain that he's putting us down somewhere where there's a hospital and an ambulance can meet the plane ASAP, please. I predict that the crisis will occur over western Nebraska and we will divert to DEN.

I was almost right. We were over Eastern Nebraska, though. *DING!* "Ladies and gentleman, if there is a doctor or a nurse or anyone with medical trianing on board, please identify yourself by ringing the..." The flight was already three hours late; I was about to make it even worse for everyone, including me. Heeeere we go!

The patient, it turns out, was a 23mo boy who had developed vomiting and diarrhea of acute onset. And this is what I do for a living; I've totally got this. So I turned into Dr. MacGuyver. I looked at the medical supplies, and while there was a way to start an IV, I don't know how to calculate a drip rate by gravity, but oral hydration is best. So I asked the nurse to mix one liter of water with 6 packs of sugar and two packs of salt (I judged this to be roughly the recipe for the WHO Oral Rehydration Solution). They also had some ginger-ale, which can have a mild antiemetic (anti-vomiting) effect. I got a 5mL syringe from the emergency kit. calculated that this 12kg boy needed 44 mL/hr maintenance fluids and so I had the parents give 5mL every 5 minutes by mouth for 60mL per hour plus two additional syringes of ginger ale per hour for 70mL/hr, which is a bit over 1 1/2 maintenance rate, appropriate for maintenance during increased fluid loss, like vomiting and diarrhea. I checked on him every half hour. I told the captain that we could continue but that if there was any way he might expedite our arrival, that would help. At SFO, EMS met the aircraft and whisked the kid off to a hospital (that was probably overkill, but it was late and there were no urgent cares open at that hour). A flight attendant took down my information at some point during all this. The parents also took my information and sent me a really nice monogrammed Cross pen and a thank-you card. I've lost the Cross pen, but I still use Cross pens at work.

Never heard a peep out of the old lady on oxygen.

I got a letter from some senior VP of in-flight operations thanking me profusely for my expert medical assistance. And a mileage dump into my account that was enough for two domestic r/t tickets or one international ticket. And, to be fair, I had just saved DL an unplanned diversion.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
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EA CO AS
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:23 am

SaUL wrote:
I need to find out what is the current policy and practice among airlines regarding passengers who assist in an inflight medical emergency.
1. Do airlines compensate, or reward passengers who assist? Or are they simply given a thank-you-letter?
a. is the reward commonly in the form of airline miles, or a commemorative gift/token?


It depends on the carrier, but my experience is to provide the medical professional who has assisted (and sometimes, there are multiple who pitch in) with either a not-insignificant amount of miles to their account, or discount codes for an again, not-insignificant amount of money off their next purchase via the company website.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
dfwjim1
Posts: 2206
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:44 pm

Slightly off topic but if a volunteer comes forth saying that they are a medical professional do they have to show some kind of proof
that they are in fact a medical professional?
 
flipdewaf
Posts: 2853
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 6:28 am

Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:17 am

DocLightning wrote:
I'll tell my story. I was in my last year of residency and I was flying on DL from JFK to SFO for an interview. As I boarded this 752, I noticed a very old woman in the first row of Y on oxygen. Her mouth was hanging open and her tongue was hanging out one side and she was obviously in a depressed state of consciousness. In medicine, the slang for this is "a positive Q sign." Open mouth with the tongue hanging out. Generally a sign of end-stage neurodegeneration of the CNS (dementia). So I sat down and prepared for a medical emergency in-flight. I'm a pediatrician and I am not managing a nonogenarian on oxygen on a plane. I'm telling the captain that he's putting us down somewhere where there's a hospital and an ambulance can meet the plane ASAP, please. I predict that the crisis will occur over western Nebraska and we will divert to DEN.

I was almost right. We were over Eastern Nebraska, though. *DING!* "Ladies and gentleman, if there is a doctor or a nurse or anyone with medical trianing on board, please identify yourself by ringing the..." The flight was already three hours late; I was about to make it even worse for everyone, including me. Heeeere we go!

The patient, it turns out, was a 23mo boy who had developed vomiting and diarrhea of acute onset. And this is what I do for a living; I've totally got this. So I turned into Dr. MacGuyver. I looked at the medical supplies, and while there was a way to start an IV, I don't know how to calculate a drip rate by gravity, but oral hydration is best. So I asked the nurse to mix one liter of water with 6 packs of sugar and two packs of salt (I judged this to be roughly the recipe for the WHO Oral Rehydration Solution). They also had some ginger-ale, which can have a mild antiemetic (anti-vomiting) effect. I got a 5mL syringe from the emergency kit. calculated that this 12kg boy needed 44 mL/hr maintenance fluids and so I had the parents give 5mL every 5 minutes by mouth for 60mL per hour plus two additional syringes of ginger ale per hour for 70mL/hr, which is a bit over 1 1/2 maintenance rate, appropriate for maintenance during increased fluid loss, like vomiting and diarrhea. I checked on him every half hour. I told the captain that we could continue but that if there was any way he might expedite our arrival, that would help. At SFO, EMS met the aircraft and whisked the kid off to a hospital (that was probably overkill, but it was late and there were no urgent cares open at that hour). A flight attendant took down my information at some point during all this. The parents also took my information and sent me a really nice monogrammed Cross pen and a thank-you card. I've lost the Cross pen, but I still use Cross pens at work.

Never heard a peep out of the old lady on oxygen.

I got a letter from some senior VP of in-flight operations thanking me profusely for my expert medical assistance. And a mileage dump into my account that was enough for two domestic r/t tickets or one international ticket. And, to be fair, I had just saved DL an unplanned diversion.

Did you feel like as much of a hero as you sounded when I read that?

There was a documentary mini series (3parts) a few weeks ago on the BBC (I think it was called city int he sky and they had a segment about inflight medical emergencies and it was very interesting seeing how the process worked and it was all controlled from a hospital in the midwest I believe. They have a big database of hospitals close to airports around the world and what equipment/services they are able to use. There is a doctor on the end of the phone when there is a medical emergency, he/she will try to diagnose the problem and assign the correct diversionary airport based on the problem and the services required and location fo the aircraft. It was very interesting.

Fred
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Eagle15
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:40 pm

DocLightning wrote:
I'll tell my story. I was in my last year of residency and I was flying on DL from JFK to SFO for an interview. As I boarded this 752, I noticed a very old woman in the first row of Y on oxygen. Her mouth was hanging open and her tongue was hanging out one side and she was obviously in a depressed state of consciousness. In medicine, the slang for this is "a positive Q sign." Open mouth with the tongue hanging out. Generally a sign of end-stage neurodegeneration of the CNS (dementia). So I sat down and prepared for a medical emergency in-flight. I'm a pediatrician and I am not managing a nonogenarian on oxygen on a plane. I'm telling the captain that he's putting us down somewhere where there's a hospital and an ambulance can meet the plane ASAP, please. I predict that the crisis will occur over western Nebraska and we will divert to DEN.

I was almost right. We were over Eastern Nebraska, though. *DING!* "Ladies and gentleman, if there is a doctor or a nurse or anyone with medical trianing on board, please identify yourself by ringing the..." The flight was already three hours late; I was about to make it even worse for everyone, including me. Heeeere we go!

The patient, it turns out, was a 23mo boy who had developed vomiting and diarrhea of acute onset. And this is what I do for a living; I've totally got this. So I turned into Dr. MacGuyver. I looked at the medical supplies, and while there was a way to start an IV, I don't know how to calculate a drip rate by gravity, but oral hydration is best. So I asked the nurse to mix one liter of water with 6 packs of sugar and two packs of salt (I judged this to be roughly the recipe for the WHO Oral Rehydration Solution). They also had some ginger-ale, which can have a mild antiemetic (anti-vomiting) effect. I got a 5mL syringe from the emergency kit. calculated that this 12kg boy needed 44 mL/hr maintenance fluids and so I had the parents give 5mL every 5 minutes by mouth for 60mL per hour plus two additional syringes of ginger ale per hour for 70mL/hr, which is a bit over 1 1/2 maintenance rate, appropriate for maintenance during increased fluid loss, like vomiting and diarrhea. I checked on him every half hour. I told the captain that we could continue but that if there was any way he might expedite our arrival, that would help. At SFO, EMS met the aircraft and whisked the kid off to a hospital (that was probably overkill, but it was late and there were no urgent cares open at that hour). A flight attendant took down my information at some point during all this. The parents also took my information and sent me a really nice monogrammed Cross pen and a thank-you card. I've lost the Cross pen, but I still use Cross pens at work.

Never heard a peep out of the old lady on oxygen.

I got a letter from some senior VP of in-flight operations thanking me profusely for my expert medical assistance. And a mileage dump into my account that was enough for two domestic r/t tickets or one international ticket. And, to be fair, I had just saved DL an unplanned diversion.



Wow Doc, incredible story! The airlines definitely benefit having guys like you on board!

Eagle15
 
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DocLightning
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:53 pm

flipdewaf wrote:
Did you feel like as much of a hero as you sounded when I read that?


I kinda did, but here's the thing: the circumstances were just right for me to turn into a hero. Had the patient been an adult or had the problem been more serious than some gastroenteritis, I'd have been all: "Hurr...durr...land."
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
nws2002
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:02 am

dfwjim1 wrote:
Slightly off topic but if a volunteer comes forth saying that they are a medical professional do they have to show some kind of proof
that they are in fact a medical professional?


Yes, and generally it is verified by MedLink.
 
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OneSexyL1011
Posts: 236
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:51 am

SaUL wrote:
I need to find out what is the current policy and practice among airlines regarding passengers who assist in an inflight medical emergency.
1. Do airlines compensate, or reward passengers who assist? Or are they simply given a thank-you-letter?
a. is the reward commonly in the form of airline miles, or a commemorative gift/token?

Thank you very much for your quick replies - it would be very much appreciated. :D


Generally we try to get them something, not sure what as it is more of a station function but from the operations side of things I generally make the call over to station ops and ask if they can assist the passenger in any possible way. Sometimes its miles, or compensation, free earlier flight option, seat upgrade, club passes or just a quick ride to the gate. It changes with whoever is working the situation and at what station it is at.

nws2002 wrote:
dfwjim1 wrote:
Slightly off topic but if a volunteer comes forth saying that they are a medical professional do they have to show some kind of proof
that they are in fact a medical professional?


Yes, and generally it is verified by MedLink.


Not once in my 10+ years and 100's of medical phone patches have I ever had a Medlink verify a Dr. or nurses credentials.
 
nws2002
Posts: 852
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:04 pm

Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:57 pm

OneSexyL1011 wrote:

nws2002 wrote:

Yes, and generally it is verified by MedLink.


Not once in my 10+ years and 100's of medical phone patches have I ever had a Medlink verify a Dr. or nurses credentials.


Interesting. It is required in our procedures and I have always done it.
 
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OneSexyL1011
Posts: 236
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:34 am

nws2002 wrote:
OneSexyL1011 wrote:

nws2002 wrote:

Yes, and generally it is verified by MedLink.


Not once in my 10+ years and 100's of medical phone patches have I ever had a Medlink verify a Dr. or nurses credentials.


Interesting. It is required in our procedures and I have always done it.


Hmm. Welp, different carriers must require different procedures. Thats all I can think of.
 
entdoc
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Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:15 am

Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:37 pm

Years and years ago I helped an I'll person on LY. Got an $8.95 book Flowers of the Holy Land for my efforts.....
 
rbretas
Posts: 49
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:58 am

I'm not a doctor and have never done any kind of direct assistance in medical emergencies, but once in a Delta Airlines NY -Tokyo flight I witnessed the weirdest chain of event I have seen so far. And I also have some questions about the events, so it would be nice to hear the opinion of people who work in aviation.

After passing Alaska the person sitting across the aisle from my sit had an allergic reaction to peanuts, her husband said she was allergic to peanuts and after the crew discussing around 10 minutes about no meal on board containing peanuts they asked him what did she eat: "peanuts" was the answer, no idea why! They were both Japanese and only one member of the crew could speak Japanese. They asked for a Doctor and on a full 747 there was NONE! After the second call for a doctor a guy who barely spoke english appeared and said he was a doctor, but he couldn't do an IV and said it was because he was too anxious, but he indicated what they should give her from the medical box with help from one of the stewardess who was a nurse before and did the IV and the injection (this stewardess was the only Japanese member of the crew).

Later 3 of the pilots (can 3 pilots be away from the cabin? how many are there on such flights?) came and started discussing with the "doctor" if they should divert the plane or not they said the last chance for a diversion was in 30 minutes. The doctor decided to wait and when he had an answer (YES, we need to land!) the pilot said it was too late. Anyway, the second medicine he gave her worked and by the end of the flight she could breath much better.

When the plane landed, since the girl was better, they decided to reach the gate (the pilot also came to ask about it to the doctor before landing). After taxing the pilot announced there was no permission to dock to the finger and a truck came with a group of guys all covered in a blue suit and checked the girl before removing her and, only after that, they could extend the finger. Since it was an obvious allergic reaction I wonder why all that mess, is it standard procedure?

Last part, they insisted that only a doctor could open the medical box. So after landing they asked the guy for his license to check and write it in some form. The guy said he didn't have any and told that in Japan there is no such thing, which was a lie (I work in a Faculty of Medicine in Japan, that's how I knew). They just got his name and address, but the crew was really divided about letting him go or not and I thought they would actually fight about it (what are the consequences if the guy was not a real doctor? I don't think the crew should be blamed for it anyway). My guess is he was a traditional medicine doctor (kampo or judo therapist) or a pharmacist. Probably not a student, he was already in his 50s. The stewardess was the real hero, she did everything.

Finally, during the last 3/4 hours I had to stay standing and walking around the plane because they asked to use my seat while taking care of the girl, the plane was full and for some reason I don't know they didn't let me use the crew seats (security? safety? just bothersome for being in the middle of the way?). Anyway, I didn't really mind that since on a 14 hours flight standing and walking was actually nice. At the end I went to the company desk and asked for a reimburse for the "extra legroom" I paid and heard I couldn't get it. After insisting and waiting for them to make a few calls they finally refunded the extra 30$ or 40$ I paid (can't remember the exact amount). I didn't ask for anything extra and I don't think anyone on the flight received anything special.

Funniest (or most tragic) part of it: the girl's husband was watching movies all the time while she was there almost dying. He didn't even bother removing his earphones when the crew wanted to ask him questions.
 
Cadet985
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:09 am

I was flying LAS-MSP-PHL, and on the first leg of the flight, a flight attendant came around asking if anyone knew how to handle diabetic emergencies. Now, aside from being pre-diabetic (at the time), and having two parents who are diabetic, I was a certified first responder, and had professional first aid and CPR training. The first thing we were taught was to find out if there was anyone more qualified, so I showed the F/A my credentials, but suggested she see if there was someone with more training on board, as I didn't (and don't) know how good Samaritan laws work in flight since they are generally laws that vary by state. Fortunately, a few rows in front of me was a doctor and his wife, a nurse returning from vacation. After everything calmed down - no diversion necessary - the F/A asked me what I would have done. I told her that I would have checked the victim for breathing and pulse, and asked for a glass of orange juice...and if that didn't work, I would have suggested a diversion to the pilot.

I was told that this is exactly what the doctor did. But...better to play by the rules and be safe than to risk a lawsuit when there's more experience than yourself.

Marc
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:31 am

rbretas wrote:
Later 3 of the pilots (can 3 pilots be away from the cabin? how many are there on such flights?)

Finally, during the last 3/4 hours I had to stay standing and walking around the plane because they asked to use my seat while taking care of the girl, the plane was full and for some reason I don't know they didn't let me use the crew seats (security? safety? just bothersome for being in the middle of the way?).


NYC to NRT might well have four pilots, so you're fine with just one pilot in the cockpit for a brief time as long as he/she is not alone. Having said that, it seems like bad judgment to have all 3 "remaining" pilots come out and discuss the situation, all in full view of the passengers.

Regarding crew seats, sitting down in one shouldn't be a problem, as long as it is not during a critical phase of flight, at which point you have to be safety qualified. Interestingly, you can sit in the cockpit jump seat without being safety qualified (though there are security requirements instead).
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
winstonlegthigh
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:07 pm

DocLightning wrote:
flipdewaf wrote:
Had the patient been an adult or had the problem been more serious than some gastroenteritis, I'd have been all: "Hurr...durr...land."

Doubt the pilots would have had the charts for that one.
Never has gravity been so uplifting.
 
aklrno
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:29 pm

I'm neither a doctor or a lawyer, so perhaps some lawyer has some better info, but IIRC the California good samaritan law covers people who volunteer to help out in an emergency IF they are not paid. Taking payment may change things.

As for unqualified volunteers, my brother-in-law is a professor of medicine with a PhD not an MD. He is a whiz at diagnosis but not licensed to treat patients and would never start an IV even if he knows what is needed. He sits through the request for medical personnel on aircraft and will only respond if there is absolutely no one else.
 
dfwjim1
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:53 pm

It seems like every time I hear about an inflight medical event there is always at least one doctor on board. Are there that many doctors flying on commercial aircraft...LOL?
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 19350
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:37 am

dfwjim1 wrote:
It seems like every time I hear about an inflight medical event there is always at least one doctor on board. Are there that many doctors flying on commercial aircraft...LOL?


In most countries, there are 1-4 physicians per 1000 population*. Thus on a plane with 200 people on board you will statistically have between 0.2 and 0.8 doctors on board. Also, given relative income levels I think we can assume that they are more likely to be flying than the average person.


*http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Health/Physicians/Per-1,000-people
Last edited by Starlionblue on Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:37 am

mispost. oops.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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DocLightning
Posts: 21520
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:34 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
dfwjim1 wrote:
It seems like every time I hear about an inflight medical event there is always at least one doctor on board. Are there that many doctors flying on commercial aircraft...LOL?


In most countries, there are 1-4 physicians per 1000 population*. Thus on a plane with 200 people on board you will statistically have between 0.2 and 0.8 doctors on board. Also, given relative income levels I think we can assume that they are more likely to be flying than the average person.


*http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Health/Physicians/Per-1,000-people


That and some of us travel for work a lot.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
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ojjunior
Posts: 817
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Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:03 pm

OneSexyL1011 wrote:
nws2002 wrote:
OneSexyL1011 wrote:
Not once in my 10+ years and 100's of medical phone patches have I ever had a Medlink verify a Dr. or nurses credentials.

Interesting. It is required in our procedures and I have always done it.

Hmm. Welp, different carriers must require different procedures. Thats all I can think of.

Hope #1: Crew doesn't allow some idiot trying to be a hero to perform something in a ill one for a few miles, upgrade or a thankyou letter...
Hope #2: Some Laws and procedures gives some responsibility for both sides if something like that happens..
Hope #3: I'm not the ill one
 
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ojjunior
Posts: 817
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:31 am

Re: REWARDS OR COMPENSATION FOR INFLIGHT MEDICAL EMERGENCIES:

Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:04 pm

DocLightning wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
dfwjim1 wrote:
It seems like every time I hear about an inflight medical event there is always at least one doctor on board. Are there that many doctors flying on commercial aircraft...LOL?


In most countries, there are 1-4 physicians per 1000 population*. Thus on a plane with 200 people on board you will statistically have between 0.2 and 0.8 doctors on board. Also, given relative income levels I think we can assume that they are more likely to be flying than the average person.


*http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Health/Physicians/Per-1,000-people


That and some of us travel for work a lot.

Thank you Doc

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