○ You are protected from liability – the Good Samaritan law applies even in the friendly skies.
○ The most common complaint is syncope/ presyncope followed by chest pain.
○ Vital signs are affected by cabin environment (e.g O2 sat around 90%).
○ The loud baseline noise makes it nearly impossible to use a stethoscope reliably.
○ The inflight emergency kit is designed to have most meds in IM format and are kept in pre-dosed vials to make administration as easy as possible.
○ Expect there to be epinephrine, atropine, normal saline, nitroglycerin, aspirin, oral analgesics, benzodiazepine, metered-dose inhalers (MDIs), among other things--all are typically really well labeled with instructions for use.
○ You will communicate with the pilot and likely ground support, though in the end although you can make a recommendation on whether or not to divert the flight, the pilot will ultimately make the call.
EDITOR’S COMMENTARY: This is a great, quick article about basics for management of an in-flight medical emergency. While they list some of the medications and scenarios you may encounter, we’d love to hear your stories.
Copyright 2018 by Emergency Medical Abstracts – All Rights Reserved 9/18 - #13
Norman P. - September 15, 2018 10:57 PM
Don’t accept payment, even frequent flyer miles, or it may jeopardize your status as good samaritan
Constantine P. - September 29, 2018 6:49 AM
So this is tangentially associated with your discussion. I was in Bamako, Mali at the Radisson Blu relaxing during my first night by the pool bar when another guest behind had a syncopal episode.
Background, I'm an EM PA-C who runs the Mass Casualty Preparedness program for Dept of State and was in West Africa working Ebola/Non-Ebola evacuation issues in 2014.
Anyway, has the guy slumps into his chair I run over to lay him on the ground and start my assessment (thinking the whole time "I have NO equipment please have a pulse...). Right after I get him on the ground the other people (Brits) run over grab his feet and elevate them onto a chair. When I tried to tell them he is going to be ok they respond "No we have got this, we're flight attendants...!"
They did relax a little after I explain who I was and the patient did recover. I'm not sure if he sought care afterwards in Bamako. Apparently he had been out playing golf and drinking all day before the event.