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ON AN Eastern Airlines flight to Atlanta from Los Angeles recently, a passenger who was a diabetic had a seizure. Despite the fact that there were three physicians aboard the plane the passenger could not be treated, because there was no supportive medical equipment on board. "The patient in question had taken his morning insulin and had not eaten lunch. The resulting low blood sugar produced a grand mal seizure," says Michael Diamant, MD, of Santa Barbara, Calif, one of the physicians aboard that flight.
In another instance, on a flight from Boston to New York City, a physician was asked to provide medical assistance to a passenger in cardiorespiratory arrest. The physician, James S. Liljestrand, MD, of Braintree, Mass, discovered that there was no medical equipment—not even a stethoscope— or medication available on board.
In a third case, Marvin A. Epstein, MD, of Walnut Creek, Calif, was flying to
Anderson JM. Emergency Medical Kits To Be Required Cargo on Commercial Airliners. But Will They Fill the Bill?. JAMA. 1986;256(2):167-169. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380020029003