Is There A Doctor On Board? Providers Should Give Aid During In-Flight Medical Emergencies, But Not Alone

January 22, 2019 | Physician Practice News

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​Healthcare providers can provide aid during an in-flight emergency as part of a collaborative team that includes the flight crew and physicians on the ground, according to a review published December 25, 2018, in JAMA. Based on frequency estimates, in-flight medical emergencies are estimated to occur from 260 to 1,420 times a day worldwide, given the fact that four billion commercial airline passengers travel the globe annually, the authors say. The most frequent medical condition to cause an in-flight medical emergency is syncope or near-syncope (32.7%), followed by conditions with gastrointestinal (14.8%), respiratory (10.1%), and cardiovascular (7.0%) symptoms, according to the review.

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