Letters

Helping airline passengers

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7184.672 (Published 06 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:672

Guidance on legal position would be helpful

  1. Alan E H Emery (emery@budleigh.demon.co.uk), Emeritus professor
  1. Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6NZ
  2. Cathay Pacific Airways, Aviation Medicine Office, Kai Tak, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  3. Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH
  4. Department of Family Medicine Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, California CA 90502 (310) USA

    EDITOR—It is encouraging that the BMA wishes to clarify the position of doctors who give inflight help.1 Over the years, I have helped out with problems ranging from myocardial infarction with emergency flight diversion, sickle cell crisis, and dyspepsia associated with excessive alcohol intake, to a scorpion sting. Although I admitted that my emergency room experience was limited to my early years of training, the airline staff (all British Airways) have always been most grateful. They explained that it gave them comfort to know that there was a person with at least some professional training.

    Although I have always felt obliged to offer my help on these occasions and will continue to do so, guidance on one's legal position would be helpful. I presume that this will be influenced by several factors, including the airline, the nationalities of the passenger and the doctor, and the doctor's type of medical cover. As people travel more frequently and to greater distances, the problem is likely to get worse rather than better in future.

    References

    Doctors who expect to be paid should say so in advance

    1. J C Merritt (hkcpajom@ibmmail.com), Principal medical officer
    1. Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6NZ
    2. Cathay Pacific Airways, Aviation Medicine Office, Kai Tak, Kowloon, Hong Kong
    3. Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH
    4. Department of Family Medicine Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, California CA 90502 (310) USA

      EDITOR—Dyer's news article on medical assistance for inflight emergencies1 raises several issues. Many airlines have well tested ground based medical arrangements with their own or contracted advisers, but onboard help is nonetheless always appreciated. Our own records show that the recent …

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