This week, the Coast Guard was called in to transport a woman from a cruise ship, as it sailed past Point Lookout, Maryland. On Sunday, February 11th, at 3:42am, the Carnival Pride sent out a request for an emergency team to assist an ailing passenger on board. According to reports, the passenger was a 71-year-old woman. Her symptoms indicated that she could be having a serious cardiac event.
A team from Coast Guard Station St. Inigoes arrived with a rescue boat and brought her to the nearest hospital on shore, so she could receive further treatment. At this time, there is no additional information as to the woman’s condition. However, we send our best wishes to the woman and her family, in the hopes that she will have a full and speedy recovery.
As most people involved in the cruise industry will know, these kinds of rescue missions are not uncommon. On an almost weekly basis, it seems, the Coast Guard is called in to transport a passenger at sea. Whether by helicopter or boat, the rescue team works quickly and efficiently so that the individual in need can get the treatment they require as soon as possible.
“Interestingly, the largest cruise lines do not pay U.S. income taxes because they are foreign corporations with their principal place of business in the United States. It is a loophole that cruise lines have exploited since their inception. However, cruise lines place significant demands on the Coast Guard to rescue passengers because they are not properly equipped to handle medical emergencies. It’s simply not fair and Congress should close the gaping tax loophole afforded to cruise lines,” says Jason Margulies, one of our maritime lawyers.
Cruise Ships Not Equipped To Handle Medical Emergencies
However, the Coast Guard can only work quickly once the team at sea has taken the step to alert them to the emergency. Because of this, it is essential that the crewmembers in the ship’s medical suite understand when a medical emergency is out of their hands and when they need to call for help.
Unfortunately, there are very few times when a medical emergency can be handled by the ship medical staff on board. Given the inconsistencies in the trainings and certifications held by the cruise ship medical professionals, most concerns beyond the level of a small cut or motion sickness end up being referred out of the ship.
While this is always in the patient’s best interest, it is concerning that so few individuals are capable of receiving the medical treatment they need without having to completely disrupt their cruise. After all, an emergency transport from the ship typically guarantees that your vacation has come to an end.
Of course, the best way to prevent a potential cruise disruption is to get a final stamp of approval from your doctor before you depart. That said, there are some health conditions that appear even after being approved for travel, or that are induced by unsafe conditions on your cruise–such as slip and falls. In this case, even the best prepared traveler could become a victim, as the conditions at sea are entirely out of your control.
We Are Ready to Help
So if you have been injured aboard your cruise and are seeking legal advice on your next steps, we are here to help. At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., every maritime lawyer on our team has experience assisting individuals who have suffered an accident or injury on their cruise. Whether you were a guest or a crewmember, we know the challenges you are facing and are prepared to stay by your side until you get the resolution you deserve.
When you are ready to have your questions answered and take the next step towards a future free from legal burden, we are ready to take your case. Do not hesitate to contact us to get started today.