January 12, 1990

In-flight Emergencies: Doc Riders in the Sky-Reply

JAMA. 1990;263(2):235. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440020067024

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In Reply.—  In response to Dr Glass, my editorial suggested that flight attendants (and consequently passengers) might benefit from receiving basic life support training, eg, learning to clear a foreign object from the throat, stop an acute hemorrhage, or perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The fact that flight attendants might be trained as emergency medical technicians was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Dr Glass' proposal to have at least one on-board flight attendant trained as an emergency medical technician might one day prove to be useful, but from the airlines' point of view is currently impractical. Crew schedules being what they are (attendants bid for flights on a month-to-month basis), trying to ensure one emergency medical technician on each flight would prove to be a logistic nightmare (not even considering the havoc created in crew schedules by canceled flights, weather delays, and crew illnesses).Dr Glass has accurately characterized what is probably the