Wednesday October 21, 2009
More Feedback on Airline Good Samaritans
We’ve continued to receive quite a bit of trenchant feedback from our show on good Samaritans. Not surprisingly, most of your comments relate to being a good Samaritan on board a long haul flight.
One issue deserves special mention. A number of you have pointed out that most airlines employ private companies that provide ground-based medical support in case passengers become ill.
We received this email from MaryJane Harris:
“I just finished listening to your White Coat/Black Air podcast that discussed physicians acting as good Samaritans on aircraft. As a former airline pilot and now a medical student, this was a particularly interesting topic for me. The airlines here in the US subscribe to a medical service that allows physicians to be contacted by radio. However, if no one informs the pilots that there is a medical emergency going on in the back, this can't be done. It is very possible that the flight attendants may NOT contact the pilots to let them know about the problem if it is being dealt with by a medical professional in the back (although they are required to do so...it may slip their mind during the situation). If a medical person is ever dealing with a situation on an aircraft that they deem to be an emergent situation, insist that the airline's medical service be contacted. This will ensure that the patient gets the best care possible and that the pilots and the airline are aware of the situation in the back and decisions with what to do about the flight (turn back, land at a diversion airport, continue) can be made with the best information available.”
I’d very interested in hearing from airline industry insiders as well as health professionals who’ve been pulled into good Samaritan situations to see if Ms. Harris’ informed suspicion tracks with reality.
Previous Comments (1)
I don't know which airline Ms. Harris worked for but contacting the flight deck during a medical emergency is basic protocol for cabin crew. Not something that would be overlooked or forgotten.
In Canada airlines also have access to medical support, in flight, by radio.
To speak to whether good samaritans should be compensated? Would that not negate the term "good samaritan"? I am CPR and First Aid trained but would not expect compensation for helping in an emergency situation.
An onboard call for medical assistance is not to save money but a request for help when one is out of realm of their expertise.
We will always ask for and accept appropriate assistance from trained medical personnelle onboard in conjunction with the medical support we recieve from the ground. We absolutely appreciate it because it saves lives.