Are Physicians Obligated to Help on Planes?

Share this content:
Are Physicians Obligated to Help on Planes?
Are Physicians Obligated to Help on Planes?

TUESDAY, Sept. 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Does being a physician carry a moral obligation to respond to calls for medical assistance on airplanes? That is the topic of an article published in the Sept. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It is estimated that the incidence of in-flight medical emergencies that involve communication with experts on the ground is about one in 600 flights. In the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom, physicians do not have the legal duty to assist unless there is a prior patient-physician relationship, although in many European countries and Australia, physicians do have the legal duty to respond. In the United States, responders are protected legally with the exception of gross negligence or intentional harm.

A physicians' sense of obligation also may be affected by their discipline and recent experience (e.g., direct care of patients versus administrative role). When more than one medical professional responds, it is reasonable to quickly assess credentials and presumed abilities and allow the person who seems to be the most capable to take charge; it may be a nurse or an emergency medical technician.

"Even though I have been away from the direct responsibility for the care of patients for a long time, I think that I have been able to evaluate and take care of most situations that I have encountered or to defer to others who were more capable when they were available," explains author Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., from the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y.

Abstract/Full Text

Share this content:

is free, fast, and customized just for you!

Already a member?

Sign In Now »

Drug Lookup

Browse drugs by: BrandGenericDisease

Trending Activities

All Professions


Sign up for myCME e-newsletters


More in Home

FDA OKs Nucala for Eosinophilic Granulomatosis With Polyangiitis

FDA OKs Nucala for Eosinophilic Granulomatosis With Polyangiitis

First drug to be approved for rare autoimmune disease that leads to vasculitis

Findings Support Individualized Glycemic Control in T2DM

Findings Support Individualized Glycemic Control in T2DM

Approach saved $13,547/patient vs uniform intensive control, with lower medication costs

Atherosclerosis ID'd in Many Without CV Risk Factors

Atherosclerosis ID'd in Many Without CV Risk Factors

LDL-C independently associated with the presence and extent of atherosclerosis

is free, fast, and customized just for you!

Already a member?

Sign In Now »