I decided to write this after recently having a medical emergency on board this past week. There are some critical things you need to know to best protect yourself and loved ones.
1. Always bring with you in your carry on any type of medications or supplements that you need. Do not check them into your luggage since as we all know, it may or may not show up to your destination when you do! This also applies to medical oxygen. If you know you have respiratory issues, the 4% humidity and 8,000 ft cabin can wreak havoc on oxygen levels and breathing so prearrange with the airline to have some onboard so that it is there if you need it.
2. On board, we have first aid kits and medical kits. Basic first aid supplies can be provided but please know that the flight attendants are NOT skilled in basic first aid or CPR. The medical kits are strictly for licensed medical personnel to use and administer with the approval of the Captain. This contains several critical and life saving items. We also have defibrillators that have saved many people’s lives both at the airports and onboard the jets. It is not a good idea to fly in general if your health isn’t up to par.
3. Usually, with a normal capacity of passengers, there are medical angels onboard the jet willing to help in an emergency. Thanks to the “Good Samaritan” law, those people who are trained and willing to help save someone’s life, cannot then get sued in response. I am asking those of you to take the time and make the effort to help when you see the need. Even if you are not trained, everyone needs a hand to hold, a smile of encouragement, and kind words to help keep them fighting during a precarious and scary health situation!
4. From the flight deck, we can get a doctor on the phone fairly quickly through the airlines dispatch and an on-call physician. This can be patched to the phone in the cabin so that medical information can be passed back and forth, directives can be taken, and decisions about the proceeding can be made.
5. Diversions. One thing I have zero patience for is people who get angry when it comes to a “medical inconvenience”. (I will add in “safety inconvenience” as well!) Please put yourself in that persons shoes. Or even worse, what if it was you parent, child, spouse, sibling, best friend? Wouldn’t you want them to have medical help? Wouldn’t you want us to divert to the nearest safe airport so they can get to the hospital immediately in order to receive the required medical interventions? If we are told by medical experts that the person needs immediate hospital attention, we coordinate and plan the best airport to land and immediately head there. Paramedics are directed to meet us at the jet once we are at the gate and secured in order to take the passenger in need expeditiously to the hospital.
I will write some more articles from subjects I have in my book “Remove Before Flight” regarding hydration, blood clots, jet lag, and other travel health factors. Please be healthy and strong as you take to the skies! Blue Skies to you all! Z 6