Emergency medevac operations are unfortunately common in the cruise ship industry, for a number of reasons: cruise ship passengers tend to skew older (as a general rule) and may therefore be at higher risk of an adverse medical event and facilities aboard the cruise ship may be inadequate for treating serious medical issues. Given that cruise ships – particularly those traveling on long oceanic voyages – are often far from shore, a long-range medevac may be necessary in order to secure assistance for the ailing passenger in a timely manner.
Just two days ago, on Monday, November 19, 2018 at roughly 2:30PM, an elderly woman passenger aboard luxury cruise ship Queen Mary II – operated by Cunard Line, a premium cruise line with a small fleet – experienced an unspecified medical emergency that necessitated an immediate medevac rescue operation. Queen Mary II was in the midst of a transatlantic voyage between Southampton, England and New York, and was located about 160 kilometers southwest of the Irish coastline.
Crew members sounded the alarm and contacted Irish Coast Guard for assistance. Irish Coast Guard authorities coordinated with Queen Mary II crew members, and sent out a long-range medevac helicopter at 3:45PM. Queen Mary II was directed north to reduce the distance that the helicopter had to travel to perform the medevac operation. When the helicopter finally arrived, the elderly passenger was secured and flown shoreside to University Hospital Limerick for treatment. She was not accompanied by shipboard medical personnel on the way to the University Hospital, despite the fact that she had been treated while on-board.
Though details are sparse, it is believed that the passenger is in serious, but stable condition.
Had the passenger suffered injuries due to delays in coordinating the medevac, or due to the fact that she was unaccompanied by shipboard medical personnel during the transport, then she might have a claim for damages against Cunard Line.
Prompt Medevac Assistance Must Be Secured and Proper Care Given to Ailing Passenger
In a serious medical emergency involving a cruise ship passenger, a wasted hour can spell the difference between life or death. In the present case, medical personnel aboard Queen Mary II quickly evaluated the ailing passenger and determined that a medevac airlift would be necessary to get her adequate assistance. Unfortunately, it seems as though there may have been a delay in the follow-through coordination efforts between Irish Coast Guard authorities and Queen Mary II, as the long-range helicopter was not sent out until more than an hour after the passenger experienced a medical emergency. This delay (if unjustified by the circumstances) could have exacerbated the harm caused to the passenger.
Even if there are no delays in securing and executing a medevac, the assistance must be adequate for the circumstances. The passenger in the present case was transported unaccompanied by the shipboard medical personnel who initially evaluated her – in many similar instances, a shipboard nurse will accompany the passenger on the medevac. Though the nature of the medical emergency is unclear, the presence of shipboard medical personnel can help smooth the care transition.
If these failures contributed in any way to harming the passenger at-issue, then the passenger may be entitled to bring a lawsuit against the cruise line for damages.
We Can Help
If you or a family member has been harmed while traveling aboard a cruise ship – whether the harm suffered was due to a maritime accident or a medical-related issue – then you may have a claim for damages against the cruise line.
We can help.
Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., our team of attorneys has over a century of combined experience representing the interests of passengers and others who have suffered injuries (serious and fatal) while traveling aboard cruise ships. We have litigated thousands of cases over the years, many of which have involved a medical emergency and subsequent medevac operation.
The present case occurred off the coast of Ireland. Here at Lipcon, our attorneys have successfully represented clients in courtrooms throughout the United States and across the world, despite the fact that our office is located in Florida. If you or a family member has been harmed while in foreign waters, then you may still be entitled to compensation for the suffered losses.
Maritime injury claims can be a challenge to litigate. We encourage you to contact one of the experienced maritime lawyers here at Lipcon as soon as possible so that your claims can be fully evaluated.