This week, a story involving subpar medical attention aboard the Norwegian Pearl came to light, which reinforces our concerns regarding the competency of cruise ship medical professionals.
In November 2017, Danielle and Brant Aymond embarked on a honeymoon trip to Honduras aboard the Norwegian Pearl. While paddle boarding, Brant fell onto a coral reef and cut lacerated the soles of both his feet. The couple returned to the ship, and given the option between visiting a Honduran clinic and receiving treatment onboard, they made the choice to see the ship’s doctor. According to reports, the couple had bought extra medical insurance for their cruise and felt that was their best choice.
Unfortunately, the cruise staff was unsure of how to process the extra insurance, so the couple was required to pay almost $2,000 out of pocket. The doctor aboard the ship reassured Brant that the worst wound was nothing to worry about, sutured his feet, and prescribed antibiotics.
Within two weeks, the worst of the two wounds became infected, and Brant was taken in for emergency surgery to avoid losing his foot. The doctor who performed the emergency surgery found pieces of the coral reef still stuck in Brant’s foot, as well as a severed tendon. Additionally it was determined that the antibiotics given him on board were for intestinal bacteria. Thankfully, this time, all pieces of the reef were removed proper medication was given, and Brant hopes to make a full recovery.
This case is, unfortunately, a prime example of the dangers that can ensue when ill equipped and poorly trained or incompetent medical professionals employed aboard cruise ships put money ahead of the best interest of their patients.
Cruise Doctor Certifications Are Difficult to Find
Although Norwegian would not comment on the specific case above, the company released a statement saying, “Norwegian is fully committed to providing medical services through licensed physicians and nurses, and all of our ships feature medical facilities that are built, staffed, and equipped to meet or exceed the guidelines established by the American College of Emergency Physicians.”
The couple has yet to receive proof of the cruise doctor’s certifications, and is now rightfully skeptical as to the overall safety of cruise vacations. While we would like to say that this situation is uncommon, the truth is that these experiences are more and more frequent; leading many to wonder whether it will take legislation from Congress to improve shipboard standards for cruise ship doctors and nurses?
Many cruises, like Norwegian, claim to have high standards for the medical professionals they employ. Yet, events like the one above lead us to question that claim.
LMAW, PA Can Help
Navigating the legal aftermath of a situation such as this can be complicated. Especially given the overseas nature of the trip, it takes an experienced maritime lawyer to work through the red tape to ensure that the cruise line is accountable for its actions.
At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we know that the cruise lines would prefer to shirk responsibility and cast off any chance of blame. However, if you or a loved one suffered an injury while cruising, you should get the resolution that you deserve. When you work with us, you can trust that we will stay by your side and defend your rights at every possible opportunity, so that you can put your legal burden to rest and move forward with your life.
Have questions? We are here to help. Contact us today to get started.