When flight attendants dealing with distressed passengers around the world need help, doctors in Arizona answer.
“They don’t have medical training, they have first aid training,” said Dr. Paulo Alves, MedAire Medical Director.
The company MedAire staffs communication consultants and doctors at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix. Flight attendants contact the company by radio or satellite phone seeking recommendations on how to stabilize the ill passenger.
“We get all kinds of calls from the simple fainting to people having heart attacks and strokes in flights so every call is unique and every situation is different,” said Dr. James Lindner, MedAire physician.
Each day, the company received more than 100 calls from more than 65 percent of the world’s top airlines.
“We’re answering two questions. Is it a critical medical emergency and if so, is there something we can start treatment for or do we need to land the aircraft or can we provide comfort to that long-haul traveler that doesn’t want to vomit for 14 hours,” said Dr. Lindner.
MedAire doctors know medical supplies are on board and have the capability to see the passenger’s vital signs to assess the situation. The goal is to stabilize the passenger long enough until they can receive diagnosis and treatment by medical professionals when they land.
According to the company, less than 2 percent of the calls each day result in a recommendation that the pilot makes an emergency landing to deal with an inboard medical crisis.
The company says flight crews no longer have to rely on the chance of a doctor being on board and assisting with a situation.
“This provides a 100 percent solution in a consistent way in addressing those medical concerns wherever they may happen,” said Dr. Alves.
Aside from helping with in-flight emergencies, MedAire has a second Valley call center that helps private planes, yachts and sick flight crew members on a layover who need medical attention in their hotel rooms.
Mesa nurse Joan Sullivan Garrett founded MedAire.
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