Serious illness or injury
If a passenger or crewmember becomes seriously ill or injured in flight, the PIC is to be notified as soon as practicable. Determine the nature and extent of the illness or injury and administer first aid as required.
The PIC and the Purser will determine if the assistance of trained medical personnel is necessary for the evaluation or treatment of the passenger or crewmember. If medical assistance is required or items from the Emergency medical Kit (EMK) are needed, the Flight Attendant will make a PA announcement requesting such assistance. If there are no medically qualified personnel on board to take care of the ill passenger, or of the illness appears to be out of the medical professional’s scope of training, the PIC will initiate a MedLink patch.
MedLink is a hospital-based medical advisory service, providing emergency medical assistance to the aviation industry from the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The main function of MedLink is to provide a live doctor to converse with flight crews via a phone or radio patch during an inflight medical emergency. The physicians, experts in the field of emergency medicine are also trained in the limitations of the aircraft environment, medical equipment on board and the fact that we may have no one other than a Flight Attendant, trained in basic first aid, available to provide assistance.
Based on this information and what is provided during the patch, the MedLink doctor will provide recommendations for appropriate treatment to the patient, make arrangements for emergency transport to a medical facility capable of treating the specific emergency and assist in making the decision if there is a need to divert the aircraft to a location that is equipped to handle the emergency based on the person’s symptoms.
After any medical incident or emergency, a Flight Attendant Report Name must be completed by the Purser.
NOTE: The passenger is responsible for personal medical expenses with the possible exception of expenses resulting from injuries incurred aboard the aircraft. Accordingly, requests for medical aid on arrival should indicate that it is a passenger request.
Apparent death during the flight
In the case of a suspected death, the person should be considered alive until declared dead by a medical doctor but make note of the time of apparent death for the medical personnel that meets the plane.
NOTE: Crewmembers are not qualified to officially state the condition of a person’s health.
If a person appears to be dead, the PIC must be notified immediately. Prescribed resuscitation measures should be taken immediately and continued until a physician pronounces death. Once the aircraft lands, the passenger will be removed and responsibility is assumed by ground personnel. If a physician on board the aircraft positively declares death, the flight may continue to its original destination.
If death is pronounced, it is important for the crew to concentrate on normal duties for the duration of the flight. Remember, this is a traumatic event and all personal contact or PA information should be of a sensitive nature.
Body disposition for the remainder of the flight:
- If possible, leave the body in the seat and move the surrounding passengers.
- Restrain the body with the seatbelt to prevent the body from shifting and possibly leaning against the neighboring passenger, regardless of whether they are a relative or not. Consideration should be given to covering the body, giving the appearance of resting, to avoid distress for other passengers.
- After landing, the Purser will submit a Flight Attendant Report Name to the Person/Department within X hours of landing.