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.