In January, a passenger aboard the Norwegian Jewel required emergency medical attention off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand. According to reports, the woman became seriously ill and needed immediate evacuation to the nearest hospital.
These kinds of calls are not rare aboard cruise ships, as medical professionals aboard cruises are not equipped to handle any form of serious emergency. However, this situation posed very particular challenges. Due to the severity of the medical emergency, the ship was required to turn back around and head to the shore. Matters became more complicated when the Coastguard was faced with turbulent conditions, including 6.5-foot swells, 35-knot winds, and low visibility.
Despite the challenges presented in the transfer, the ailing passenger made it to shore safely, and the cruise was able to continue its journey to Sydney. We have no further information on the condition of the woman at this time. However, we send our best wishes to her and her family for a full and speedy recovery.
Cruise Doctors: Not Always Competent
While we are grateful for the dedication and perseverance of the Coastguard and crewmembers in ensuring this passenger’s safe transport to shore, but continue to have concerns over the ability of the Cruise Lines to properly, respond to the needs of a cruise passenger requiring serious medical attention.
Although no one ever expects to become seriously ill while enjoying their cruise, the truth of the matter is that even less serious medical situations are often outside of the realm of treatment the medical professionals on board are able to handle. This is concerning on many levels. Given the fact, that many people assume that their cruise line has their best interest at heart, it can be shocking to discover that the individuals hired to examine and help treat unexpected injuries sustained during a cruise, may not have the credentials you expect from medical professionals in the United States.
Often, cruise lines hire individuals who trained and obtained their certifications in countries other than the U.S. Some times with lower standards and less familiarity with the issues, that may befall you during your vacation than even a country doctor in the U.S. has. While the best way to avoid a potentially un-helpful interaction with cruise medical staff is to keep yourself safe and healthy, many of these situations happen unexpectedly.
LMAW, PA Can Help You Through
Therefore, if you suffer an accident or injury at sea and feel that your experience and your interactions with the crewmembers was harmful to your health or safety, we are here to help. At Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A., we have over 165 years of combined experience in maritime law. This means that we understand exactly what you are facing, and how to navigate the often-confusing legal waters.
Have questions about your unique situation? Every experienced maritime lawyer on our team is prepared to walk you through the process, and advocate for your rights, at every step of the way. So if you are ready to get the justice you deserve, do not hesitate to contact us.