This week, a 71-year-old man was medevaced from his cruise while sailing off the coast of Chincoteague, Va. According to reports, the man was suffering from acute respiratory distress aboard the Norwegian Breakaway and required more serious medical attention than the ship’s crew could provide.
Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and aircrew to retrieve the ailing man. They brought him and a ship nurse to Norfolk Sentara General Hospital, where the man was last listed in stable condition. We send our best wishes to this man and his family, in the hopes that he will make a speedy recovery.
In the wake of this event, we are glad to know that the passenger was brought safely to shore. The last thing anyone wants on their vacation is to suffer a serious medical problem that requires emergency transport to the nearest hospital. However, as maritime lawyers, we can safely say that this happens far more often than anyone would like.
Cruise Doctors May Be Under-Trained
One of the main drawbacks to spending time at sea is the decreased access to proper emergency services. Unfortunately, medical staff aboard cruise lines are usually not equipped to handle more complex issues. Given the fact that many cruise doctors are not trained according to U.S. standards, and may not have the experience or knowledge you would expect, there is no guarantee for what kind of medical advice you will receive. As a result, we feel it is important to get approval from your regular doctor before embarking on an extended vacation.
Any trip that takes you away from your regular medical team provides an excellent reason to make sure you are in good health. After all, you do not want to place your fate in the hands of a doctor who does not know your history and may not fully understand the meaning of the symptoms you are experiencing.
With a proper pre-cruise check-up, you can likely avoid any emergencies while you are away. That said, we understand that some issues arise without warning. And when that happens, even the best prepared may be taken by surprise.
Injured at Sea? We Can Help
Countless passengers and crew members have become the victim of accidents or injuries at sea that required serious medical attention. In many cases, these incidents were due to the negligence of their cruise line and could have been avoided. Other times a passenger’s condition is made worse by the cruise lines’ decision to put profits before passenger safety and the well-being of an ill or injured guest. When at their most vulnerable, passengers can find themselves alone in a foreign port where they don’t speak the language.
If this sounds like what has happened to you, then rest assured you do not have to handle your case on your own. Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is here to help.
Our team has had success handling a wide range of accident and injury cases. With 100 years of combined experience in maritime law, you can trust that when you work with us, you will be in good hands. Given our decades of experience in this highly complex legal niche, we know what you are up against and how to get you the results you deserve.
So if you have questions about your rights and are ready to take the next step, do not hesitate to contact us.