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Have you ever treated or assisted a sick person in the air?

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  • #16
    I answered the call on a flight to Alaska to start our Honeymoon.  I was sitting next to an NP and there was an EM physician on board as well.  We all got up right away and attended to a man who had a syncopal episode (likely vasovagal reaction) and was already starting to arouse.

    We hooked up the AED to check a rhythm, took a brief history (he had an engagement ring in his pocket, had been working long hours in the hot sun, was anxious and dehydrated).  We gave him O2 by facemask, I (anesthesiologist) started an IV and we gave him a bag of NS. Once he was feeling well, the 3 of us medical professionals and my new bride were moved to first class.  In addition to dinner and a couple free drinks, the airline gave both my wife and I travel vouchers for a future flight.

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    • #17
      "The protections of the AMAA are not contingent on the care being provided for free or without gratuity."

      That's what the NEJM article stated, going against the general advice I have seen at quite a few places to not accept anything in return to preserve your good Samaritan status.

      The references cited are
      1. Aviation Medical Assistance Act of 1998, Pub L. No. 105-170. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1998.

      2. 49 U.S. Code § 44701, 2012.

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      • #18
        Fun thread.  I have never heard the call for a physician on board.  I have treated many many people on beaches during vacations around the world.

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        • #19
          Just responded to my second one on the way back from Honolulu. A healthy middle-aged man had what sounds like most likely a syncopal episode, but possibly seizure. By the time the call went overhead, he was coming around and being attended to by a firefighter. There wasn't much to do, but I checked his blood pressure (they had an automated wrist gadget), auscultated heart and lungs, felt pulse, checked pupils, etc... Gave him some OJ in case he was hypoglycemic and stayed with him and his wife the remainder of the flight (about an hour or so).

           

          The flight attendant had me jot down some notes about symptoms, treatment, vital signs, etc... Also took down my name, address, and phone number, along with the names of my family members and our seat assignments. She mentioned 25,000 AAdvantage miles would probably be credited to my account at some point. That's good for a round trip ticket to Central America -- convenient since I was planning on booking an AA flight for a medical mission in Honduras this May.

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          • #20


            She mentioned 25,000 AAdvantage miles would probably be credited to my account at some point.
            Click to expand...


            This good deed doesn't go unpunished, I hope! Good for you!
            Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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            • #21




              I answered the call on a flight to Alaska to start our Honeymoon.  I was sitting next to an NP and there was an EM physician on board as well.  We all got up right away and attended to a man who had a syncopal episode (likely vasovagal reaction) and was already starting to arouse.

              We hooked up the AED to check a rhythm, took a brief history (he had an engagement ring in his pocket, had been working long hours in the hot sun, was anxious and dehydrated).  We gave him O2 by facemask, I (anesthesiologist) started an IV and we gave him a bag of NS. Once he was feeling well, the 3 of us medical professionals and my new bride were moved to first class.  In addition to dinner and a couple free drinks, the airline gave both my wife and I travel vouchers for a future flight.
              Click to expand...


              Cool story PoF...what about the old bride though

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              • #22
                Didn't know about the loss of Good Sam status, does that apply even with a bump into a first class seat?

                I was on a flight from Seattle to Chicago on a medium airline (think not United but not Spirit) and had a legit emergency. CHF pt probably mildly flashed but he was in some trouble. Cyanotic and not doing well. Got on the headset on conference call w/ pilot and medical control for the airline. Medical control could not possibly have been more useless, basically asking what I thought we should do. I was a PGY3 at the time but in EM so fairly well prepared. Pilot wasn't having any silliness and just said "look do I need to land or not?" I said "yes" and he basically started descent into Bismarck.

                The really terrible thing is that we were having a pretty rough flight already and the pilot wasn't very helpful about it. I wished he had come on the PA and told passengers what was going on but instead he basically did the "flight attendants take your seats were are making an unscheduled landing." Boy-howdy did we get on the ground fast. Other passengers were literally screaming b/c they thought it was an emergency landing related to the weather.

                $200 voucher given.

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                • #23


                  Cool story PoF…what about the old bride though
                  Click to expand...


                  I see what you did there.

                  Only one bride for this guy, and 10+ years later, I can no longer call her my new bride, but I would never call her an old bride.

                  Cheers!
                  -Pof

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                  • #24
                    The only medical emergency that has happened when I was on a plane was when I was a child.  A man was having a grand mal seizure and somehow my Dad knew what to do.  He was career military but I guess he some first aid training.

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                    • #25
                      Bystander of in-flight medical situation (of my son):

                      Flying from Charlotte to Tampa to go see the mouse.  Hurricane Matthew prevented us from going to Orlando directly.  Son and Daughter get Chocolate Hazelnut icecream from wife just prior to flight.  Son gets on airplane, goes to bathroom before takeoff.  Flight takes off, within 10 minutes my son is throwing up.  Wife asks him about itching throat, says no.  Another 10 minutes pass, says throat is itchy and has hives over lip.  Wife asks for medical help (though she could have).  It was awesome, a critical care pulmonologist is on the flight and answers the flight attendant's request, verify's my wife diagnosis of severe allergic reaction.  Had some epinephrine in the flight medical kit.  Once the doctor started looking at the selection of needles in the medical kit to administer the drug, my son decided death was a better alternative than a 'shot'.  Got the shot, and EMT waiting on the ground didn't pick out my son as the patient when we got to the terminal.  We sent the doc a thank card with a pic of my son at Disney and $10 Chick-filet gift card.

                      This is how we determined our son's level 6 allergy to tree nuts......

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                      • #26
                        Took care of a hungover person on a flight back from Boards review in Las Vegas.  Got $100 Delta credit. Minimal interventions needed but I got to look around the Delta in-air bag a bit.

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                        • #27
                          Twice but not me. DW was involved with your typical (or atypical), recently discharged SOB turned CHF patient who decided to immediately get on a 6 hours plane trip. Mid flight DW had to manage his symptoms, got a simple Thanks! from the staff.

                          Next one involved the actual pilot of the plane (never good)....ended up being straightforward but still...she got a nice thanks and pat on the back

                          FYI not a lot of medical equipment on board to deal with those situations, at least not that airline

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                          • #28
                            Does accepting payment nullify protection from liability? I found this, the "Aviation Assistance Medical Act of 1998" that seems to legislate legal protection. No mention about compensation for care provided

                            https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-105hrpt456/pdf/CRPT-105hrpt456.pdf

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                            • #29
                              I reluctantly got up to help once recently actually. An obese old lady had become unresponsive. She was breathing fine and vitals were ok but she wouldnt wake up. Myself and like 2 other docs on the flight checked her out. I didnt really do anything but interview her family. They made an emergency landing to take her to a hospital and by time we landed she woke up and was fine.
                              Delta gave me a 100$ voucher for it and the captain bought us drinks.

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                              • #30
                                I've been volunteered at least four times.  usually I'm sleeping and my physician wife punches me and volunteers me so she doesn't have to.

                                I get promised lots of things from the airlines, such as frequent flier miles and upgrades, but I've never actually received anything.  nor do I really want anything.

                                never had to have flight diverted.

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