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Another in flight emergency…

Home The Lounge Another in flight emergency…

  • Avatar Eye3md 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 12/01/2017

    I’ve never flown with my hospital ID. I’m surprised you have an ID identifying you as a doctor. What would they have done if you didn’t? Refuse to let you take care of the child? 🤔 kudos to you.

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    That was my thought exactly. I don’t carry anything identifying me as a physician. I guess if they wanted to verify my credentials, I told them I didn’t have anything, and then they replied “well you’ll have to prove to us you are a physician” then I would’ve sat back down and told them “well if it’s truly an emergency then you can take care of it yourself, or decide if you want to believe I’m a real doctor or not, and then come back to get me”

    #209744 Reply
    Liked by Craigy
    Avatar G 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 1905
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    I do carry the most recent expired copy of my license (they give us little wallet copies).  I do this because of the shakedown I once got from Canadian Border Patrol…revolving around my car/luggage deconstructed around a parking lot and them asking me to prove I was a doctor and rapidly taking a pointed turn for the worse when I snarkily asked if they took proof that they were security guards when they went on vacation….

    As for responding to the call…whitebeard…my last long haul flight I was undoubtedly above the legal limit, sprawled out in my overpriced lay-flat bed, fast asleep….  My passenger profile lists me as Dr G and I have been greeted before with that salutation…so I figure if they need somebody bad enough, they know where to find me….

     

    #209746 Reply
    Rogue Dad, M.D. Rogue Dad, M.D. 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 975
    Joined: 03/07/2016

    Sounds like you provided excellent care.  Dosing for Ibuprofen in peds is 10 mg/kg, in case you were wondering. 🙂

    I do wonder about the liability aspect given that you were on an int’l flight and not on a US airline.  I would imagine there has to be some protection, otherwise there’s no way in hell any doctor should be volunteering to help short of someone in extremis where our moral compass would overrule any liability concerns.

    http://www.RogueDadMD.com

    An alt-brown look at medicine, money, faith, and family

    #209776 Reply
    Avatar Hoya21 
    Participant
    Status: Student
    Posts: 6
    Joined: 03/09/2017

    Great job, WBD.

     

    As a med student, I had an emergency returning home from Vegas for a boys trip. Sunday night redeye – not one, but two emergencies. One you could’ve guessed – 30yo M took a bunch of MJ gummies/alcohol/cocaine about 4-5 hours prior and threw up all over himself and his row. I took his BP, did a brief CV and GI exam, and asked them to rehydrate with 3-4 Dasani’s. The other one was a gentleman in his 50s with chest pains. No other risk factors other than being overweight and probable hyperlipidemia. This flight had almost no medical supplies – we were close to landing anyway so they brought the paramedics on the flight. Never considered legal repercussions. Never asked to provide proof (though it was 2:30am). And nobody else stepped up.

    tldr: Don’t take the redeye from Vegas on a Sunday night/Monday morning

    #209793 Reply
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD 
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 01/21/2016

    You’re a better person than I am. Once they started questioning the credentials, I probably would have went back to my salmon tartare.

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    I am with you. In my case, I likely would not have heard the call, likely sleeping with the noise cancelling headphones in place. Not that a radiologist can do much up there, anyway.

    #209794 Reply
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 01/26/2017

    You’re a better person than I am. Once they started questioning the credentials, I probably would have went back to my salmon tartare.

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    I am with you. In my case, I likely would not have heard the call, likely sleeping with the noise cancelling headphones in place. Not that a radiologist can do much up there, anyway.

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    that’s very true. Radiologists, Dermatologists, Ophthalmologists, Allergists, Pathologists can probably safely disregard these types of calls without any feelings of guilt..

    #209796 Reply
    Liked by E5797, Tim
    The White Coat Investor The White Coat Investor 
    Keymaster
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4637
    Joined: 05/13/2011

    So…. we are sitting in business class, enjoying our canapés over the Atlantic on a 10 hour international flight. Some overhead announcement is made but barely registers in my brain, given the hum of the engines as I focus my taste buds on the interesting and delicious salmon tartare. It was a busy day at the hospital and I am pleasantly anticipating a nice dinner before having the mattress pad applied to my flat bed for some well deserved rest. However, my spouse elbows me, perhaps a bit too forcefully, asking, “It’s happening again, did you hear that, they need you again!” I regain my focus, so much for vacation mode. “Is there a medical doctor on board?”

    The flight attendant says thank you for offering to help, and politely asks for an ID to verify the MD credentials. He apologizes, “Company policy, thank you for understanding.”

    There are a few moments of confusion as things get lost in translation. The state ID in my wallet only certifies me as a “PHYSICIAN”, however they are looking for a medical doctor. “Why doesn’t your ID say MD?” After a quick phone call to medical control on the ground, with an explanation to the flight attendant regarding the definition of a physician, we are on our way to the back of the plane.

    As I pondered the situation, I figured it couldn’t be too much of an emergency as the crew spent several minutes verifying my credentials before taking me to my mile high patient.

    My intuition was correct. It turns out I am faced with a febrile infant with a very concerned mom. The medical kit on board was much more extensive than I expected, with perhaps 30 different IV and oral meds. There were both an oral and tympanic thermometer, a stethoscope, and IV supplies, but no liquid meds for kids. My head to toe exam in front of 75 of my new friends revealed a well appearing febrile infant with normal findings other than yellow nasal discharge. He was feeding well and easily consolable.

    Diagnosis: likely viral infection. We got some ibuprofen suspension from some other better prepared parents on board, and I carefully dosed the child while recalling to the best of my ability the skills of my favorite pediatric nurses. I managed to dose the ibuprofen with all of it ending up where it belonged and none of it on the baby’s or my clothing. And best of all, we continued our progress across the Atlantic without interruption. The flight attendant asked me to complete a medical evaluation report, which I happily did as I appreciated the forgotten simplicity of documenting with a pen. And finally, I politely declined the offer of frequent flier miles added to my account.

    As this minor event wound down, I reflected on my surprise that I was the only physician volunteer on a flight with over 300 passengers. We were on Turkish airlines, and I also started to wonder about variability in volunteerism in various cultures. Does it seem unusual that I was the only doc to reply to a call for help among so many international flyers?

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    If they ask me for ID showing I’m a doc, I’d tell them to go find another volunteer and come back if they decide they’re desperate enough to want me. Tell them to have their medical control Google my name from the flight manifest.

    Seriously though, that was super nice of you to do for the other passengers. That kid would have been terrible to sit near for a 10 hour flight.

    Site/Forum Owner, Emergency Physician, Blogger, and author of The White Coat Investor: A Doctor's Guide to Personal Finance and Investing
    Helping Those Who Wear The White Coat Get A "Fair Shake" on Wall Street since 2011

    #209812 Reply
    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3073
    Joined: 01/03/2017
    Tell them to have their medical control Google my name from the flight manifest.

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    Then they’ll probably start wondering why they’re 50 years old with no retirement in sight and spend the next hour reading up on personal finance and forget about the patient on the plane.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    Zzyzx Zzyzx 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 203
    Joined: 09/24/2018

    Sounds like you provided excellent care.  Dosing for Ibuprofen in peds is 10 mg/kg, in case you were wondering.

    I do wonder about the liability aspect given that you were on an int’l flight and not on a US airline.  I would imagine there has to be some protection, otherwise there’s no way in hell any doctor should be volunteering to help short of someone in extremis where our moral compass would overrule any liability concerns.

    Click to expand…

    Doctor in the sky: Medico-legal issues during in-flight emergencies

    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0968533217705693

     

    It’s psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I’ll get a saw.

    #209822 Reply
    Avatar ifonlyFI 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 100
    Joined: 08/23/2017

    too many experiences of “is there a doctor on board?”  thankfully, never anything serious.  I, like the above, usually plan on numerous beverages and movies on long haul flights.  It makes me nervous to practice my medical skills in such situations.  Typically, there are very attentive nurse passengers on board.  The nurses seem to get more excited in helping than I do.

     

    And yes, I was asked for physician ID.  It was on a foreign airline.

    #209828 Reply
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1313
    Joined: 01/26/2017

    lets put it this way, if any patient is having chest pain or dyspnea on a flight or any other type of emergency symptoms, you better believe the fatlittlepig is going to be advising the pilot the flight turn around or landing at the nearest airport.

    #209829 Reply
    Liked by Tim
    Avatar MaxPower 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 374
    Joined: 02/22/2016

    @fatlittlepig, don’t forget orthopedists. Not too often that someone breaks a hip and needs it pinned or replaced emergently on a flight…

    #209834 Reply
    Liked by Tim, Craigy
    Rogue Dad, M.D. Rogue Dad, M.D. 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 975
    Joined: 03/07/2016
    Doctor in the sky: Medico-legal issues during in-flight emergencies https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0968533217705693

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    this is loooong… summary?

    http://www.RogueDadMD.com

    An alt-brown look at medicine, money, faith, and family

    #209846 Reply
    Liked by Tim
    Zzyzx Zzyzx 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 203
    Joined: 09/24/2018
    Doctor in the sky: Medico-legal issues during in-flight emergencies https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0968533217705693 

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    this is loooong… summary?

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    you’re most likely relying on your own medmal, airlines’ insurance will not cover you and neither will good sam:

    More disturbingly, legal protection to doctors acting as good Samaritans in the sky is also not clear, certain, complete, consistent or unlimited. The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act, notwithstanding its legislative intentions, may not offer such protection.

     

    It’s psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I’ll get a saw.

    #209853 Reply
    Liked by Krentist
    Avatar DMAL 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 36
    Joined: 12/18/2016

    Reminds me of this story from a couple of days ago. Similar situation, for with an unfortunate outcome. Doubt they could have done anything differently. I’m far removed from peds, but seems like by the time they were calling the emergency it may have already been too late

    Just read this story yesterday https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/baby-dies-on-airasia-flight-to-perth-on-easter

    #209857 Reply

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