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So far STAT-MD has created 10 blog entries.

In the air, health emergencies rise quietly

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By Robert Davis and Anthony DeBarros, USA TODAY

The death of an American Airlines passenger during a flight from Haiti to New York last month has cast a spotlight on the growing number of medical emergencies on commercial jets, a trend that largely has escaped public notice because airlines aren’t required to report such incidents.

inflight-medicalx-largeThe clearest picture of the problem comes from MedAire, an Arizona-based company that provides emergency medical advice to airlines that carry nearly half of the 768 million passengers on U.S. flights each year. A MedAire analysis, done at USA TODAY’s request, indicates the rate of medical emergencies aboard commercial flights nearly doubled from 2000 to 2006, from 19 to 35 per 1 million passengers.

SURVEY: Share what you know about in-flight emergencies with USA TODAY
YOUR VIEW: How should in-flight emergencies be handled?

The increasing rate […]

Outcomes of Medical Emergencies on Commercial Airline Flights

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Drew C. Peterson, M.D., Christian Martin-Gill, M.D., M.P.H., Francis X. Guyette, M.D., M.P.H., Adam Z. Tobias, M.D., M.P.H., Catherine E. McCarthy, B.S., Scott T. Harrington, M.D., Theodore R. Delbridge, M.D., M.P.H., and Donald M. Yealy, M.D. Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh (D.C.P., C.M.-G., F.X.G., A.Z.T., C.E.M., S.T.H., D.M.Y.); and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC (T.R.D.)

Abstract
Background—Worldwide, 2.75 billion passengers fly on commercial airlines annually. When inflight medical emergencies occur, access to care is limited. We describe in-flight medical emergencies and the outcomes of these events.

Methods—We reviewed records of in-flight medical emergency calls from five domestic and international airlines to a physician-directed medical communications center from January 1, 2008, through October 31, 2010. We characterized the most common medical problems and the type of on-board assistance rendered. We […]

In-flight automated external defibrillator use and consultation patterns

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Published in final edited form as: Prehosp Emerg Care. 2010 April 6; 14(2): 235–239. doi:10.3109/1090312090357231

AM Brown1, JC Rittenberger2, CM Ammon3, S Harrington2, and FX Guyette2
1 University of Pittsburgh Affilated Residency in Emergency Medicine
2 University of Pittsburgh Department of Emergency Medicine
3 STAT MedEvac

Abstract
Background—Worldwide, 2.75 billion passengers fly on commercial airlines annually. When inflight medical emergencies occur, access to care is limited. We describe in-flight medical emergencies and the outcomes of these events.

Methods—We reviewed records of in-flight medical emergency calls from five domestic and international airlines to a physician-directed medical communications center from January 1, 2008, through October 31, 2010. We characterized the most common medical problems and the type of on-board assistance rendered. We determined the incidence of and factors associated with unscheduled aircraft diversion, transport to a hospital, and hospital admission, and we determined the incidence of death.

Results—There were 11,920 […]

Medical emergency aloft – what you need to know!

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Jerome Greer Chandler

11 Aug 2015

Each year there are 44,000 medical emergencies in commercial passengers planes but fortunately many problems are dealt with using air-to-ground links to dedicated 24/7 clinics.

One flight attendant assists a passenger, using supplies from the onboard emergency medical kit, while her colleague captures the passenger’s medical history. MedAire

Two communication specialists work with an emergency care doctor who advises a patient at 39,000 feet from MedAire’s 24/7 MedLink Global Response Center. MedAire

It’s mid-afternoon, July 13, 2005, and this reporter is catnapping 35,000 feet above Canada’s unforgiving Northwest Territories, en route from Atlanta to […]

Pittsburgh service advises airlines on health crises like Ebola

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UPMC service advises airlines on handling emergency illnesses

Medical problems can occur at the most inopportune times. Consider airplane flights and the classic cinematic trope, “Is there a doctor on board?”

Then add the fear of Ebola.

Dealing with on-board medical emergencies, especially ones involving Ebola-like symptoms of fever, aches and vomiting, represents the latest sky-high challenge for airlines.

While crews of 20 airlines worldwide do not include doctors, they have the next best thing. They use UPMC Stat-MD Communications Center on the 13th floor of UPMC Presbyterian as their airline medical advisory service.

In operation since 1998, Stat-MD, with about a dozen doctors trained in emergency medicine, takes calls from airlines round the clock.

The only other such service is MedLink, based in Tempe, Ariz.

The physician on call advises the crew about treating an ill patient or crew member with the […]

Ebola Alarms Spread With Crews, Fliers on Illness Alert

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1000x-1

With the arrival of the Ebola virus in the U.S., a fever or upset stomach on a crowded jetliner now risks escalation into an Ebola alarm.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quarantine specialists rushed to assess a passenger illness 17 times in the past two weeks, more than twice as many as a year earlier. Yesterday, five fliers with flu-like symptoms were hustled off an Emirates Airline jet in Boston. Ebola wasn’t involved.

Flight crews and travelers alike are on alert after the first confirmed infection on U.S. soil. The concern is showing up in inquiries to a medical consultant that works with airlines, an aircraft-cleaner

Local doctors on-call for in-flight medical emergencies

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PITTSBURGH – Medical emergencies happen on board flights about 50 times a day in the U.S.

When there is a serious situation, crews rely on doctors here in Pittsburgh to get them through it.

“Pilot on Flight 699, this is Dr Martin-Gill with UPMC, how do youcopy?” one call says.

The calls come in high atop UPMC Presbyterian’s Oakland Tower.

They are screened and if a doctor’s advice is needed, they are patched in to the Medical Command Center.

“Suddenly we may have to make a decision about someone who’s flying over Africa or the Atlantic,” said Dr. Chris Martin-Gill. “We have to make critical life or death decisions about — do they divert the plane, what kind of medical providers that may have been identified, what kind of medical equipment we have on board, what assistance may need to be provided.”

Channel 11’s David Johnson was given an inside […]

What Happens If You Become Seriously Ill During a Flight

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If you fly on commercial airlines in the United States and have ever wondered what would happen in the event of a medical emergency, especially if the carrier works in conjunction with physicians on the ground, you should feel more reassured after learning what I found from one airline.

I fly about 150,000 miles a year, primarily on Delta Air Lines, and had a chance to visit with a number of senior crewmembers and pilots, and read the relevant sections about in-flight medical emergencies. I learned about what they do when a passenger becomes ill or suffer a heart attack or other life-threatening event while flying.

I wrote an article last year about an oxygen system failure aboard a Delta flight I was on, and briefly […]

When medical care is up in air, doctors on ground respond

By Tom Fontaine, Times Staff

PITTSBURGH – About seven times a day, a phone rings inside a small, dark room on the 13th floor of Pittsburgh’s UPMC Presbyterian, and the recognizable name of a commercial airline pops up on the phone’s caller-ID window.

The airline is calling to report an in-flight medical emergency and, more important, get step-by-step instructions on how to deal with it.

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