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January 12, 1990

In-flight Emergencies: Doc Riders in the Sky

Author Affiliations

Rockville Centre, NY

Rockville Centre, NY

JAMA. 1990;263(2):234. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440020067020

To the Editor.—  I am writing to you in response to your recent article1 and editorial2 on airplane travel emergencies in the March 3 issue.Within a span of approximately 7 months, I was a passenger on two separate international flights. In both cases, the carrier was the national airline of the nation that I was visiting. On each of these flights, I was called on to attend an acutely ill passenger—one suffering an acute myocardial infarction and the second passenger suffering from acute sickle cell crisis.The most striking feature of each episode was the unbelievable deference shown to the attending physician relative to any and all medical decisions made (including emergency landings and the provision of emergency services at the landing site), as well as the disparity in the on-board emergency treatment kits and supplies between airlines. In one case, the airplane carried emergency supplies