An In-Flight Medical Emergency on a Plane from Brazil Reveals the Importance of Medical Transport
What happens if you suffer an in-flight medical emergency? A story in the news recently likely raised just that question in the minds of many people. According to news reports, in January, a 25-year-old passenger on a flight from Brazil to the United States fell ill and died while in transit.
It's not clear exactly what happened, but apparently the Brazilian woman began experiencing medical distress while on an American Airlines flight from Sao Paulo to Dallas. A doctor who happened to be on board the flight attempted to treat her with the help of the crew, but they were unsuccessful. The plane made an emergency landing in Houston, but it was too late to save the passenger, who was pronounced dead shortly after landing.
Authorities went so far as to call homicide detectives to the scene in Houston, but there was no sign of any trauma. While the woman's precise cause of death wasn't released, it's certainly an alarming story. Deaths on airplanes are fairly unusual, but they're hardly unheard of – in September, a woman died on a Korean Airlines flight, and in June, a man on a Kenya Airlines flight passed away.
The odds of a dying while in flight are still incredibly small. But medical emergencies do happen while in transit. In the early days of air travel, flight attendants were all nurses, but that's no longer the case (though the crew of a commercial airline will typically have training in CPR). Sometimes, there's a doctor or other medical professional on board who is able to provide assistance in an emergency – but even medical professionals are sometimes reluctant to help for fear of liability.
So while the odds of a healthy person dying on a plane are incredibly small, a commercial airplane is not a place for a person who is sick or injured to travel alone. But because it's difficult to deal with a medical emergency on a commercial airplane, people who are very ill are urged not to fly, or even denied boarding by the airline. Fortunately, for those patients who must travel by air, there are alternatives.
Air medical escorts travel with passengers on commercial flights, providing assistance with lifting and transferring, oxygen, basic monitoring, administration of medications and basic hygiene. These trained medical professionals are with the patient at all times, and able to respond quickly if an emergency arises. The medical escort knows the patient’s history and medical conditions and is equipped with medical supplies and equipment in case an emergency arises.
For patients who are seriously ill or injured – or not able to sit upright (which is required for takeoff and landing on a commercial airplane), air ambulances are another medical transport option. These are specially equipped airplanes that are able to transport people with serious medical conditions. Nurses and paramedics monitor the patient throughout the flight, ensuring that they get to their destination safely.
At MedFlight911, our experienced team of air medical escorts can provide care for a patient while in flight, potentially averting a tragedy if they do experience a medical emergency. For people whose health means that commercial air travel is not an option, we offer advanced air ambulance services. If you or a family member is sick and needs to travel, don't take a chance. An air medical escort or air ambulance can provide comfort and peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
To find out more about MedFlight911's long-distance medical transport services, give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation air ambulance quote here.