In-Flight Medical Emergencies is a practical guide for health care professionals encountering medical emergencies during commercial flight
Picture yourself on a flight from New York to Los Angeles. The plane is at cruising altitude. You just started to watch a movie you had been looking forward to on your handheld device. Even though you’re wearing headphones, your attention is drawn away from the movie when you hear several tones on the overhead speaker followed by the announcement. “Attention all passengers, if there is a medical doctor on board, please ring your call button. Once again, if there is a medical doctor on board, please ring your call button.”
Thoughts race through your head. Should I volunteer? Should I wait to see if other volunteers come forward? What sort of medical kit is on the plane? What
medical training do the flight attendants have? What if this person is critically ill? What if it involves a child? You quickly run through a list of potential medical emergencies that could await you, but you take a deep breath and press your call button anyway. You have now entered the world of providing medical assistance to patients suffering in an in-flight emergency.
Providing medical assistance during a flight offers a number of unique challenges including lower cabin pressure, tight quarters, crowded conditions, and loud background noise. The purpose of this text is to offer an overview of the sort of inflight emergencies that could be anticipated and to outline treatment priorities, should you be the one who presses their call button to volunteer. In-Flight Medical Emergencies describes the physical environment inside the cabin, some medicolegal issues, problems
unique to international flights, the various medical conditions that are common, as well as measures that can be taken by passengers with medical conditions in preparation for flight. The book also contains sections on ground-based medical direction of in-flight emergencies and the use of commercial aircraft for medical evacuations.
While In-Flight Medical Emergencies are relatively rare with the rate of occurrence of one in 11,000 passengers, the sheer number of passengers makes it very likely that you will one day be summoned to render assistance. This is especially true if you travel with any regularity. In-Flight Medical Emergencies is a must-read for the medical professional who would contemplate volunteering to render medical assistance during a flight and offers an excellent introduction to medical care in the austere and remote environment of the aircraft cabin.