BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 17 November, 1998, 14:54 GMT
Doctor loses fight over mid-air operation
Dr Stevens tried to get American Airlines to pay his 540 bill
The BBC's James Westhead reports on the outcome of a case which could change the way airlines operate:

A psychiatrist who saved the life of a patient on a long-haul flight has lost his case to get his fees paid by the airline.

Dr John Stevens spent four and a half hours attending to the patient who had a potentially fatal blood clot before advising the captain of the Los Angeles-bound plane to divert to Chicago where the patient could get emergency treatment.

Dr Stevens: the case should force airlines to reconsider their policy on medical cover
He came forward to treat the woman after the captain on the American Airlines flight asked if there was a doctor on board.

Dr Stevens presented the airline with a bill for 540 for his services, but it refused to pay, saying the fact that the woman patient became ill on the flight was incidental.

Although he lost his case, Dr Stevens says he hopes it will force airlines to provide medical assistance on long-haul flights.

"It is an outcome which ought to develop from this is that the airline industry should take due note of the absence hitherto of medical indemnity cover whenever it asks for a doctor to look after a passenger on a flight," he said.

Medical cover

Despite the fact that more patients become ill on airplanes than on any other form of transport, most airlines only carry basic first aid kits and most staff have no medical qualifications.

Airlines call for medical help on one in 20 long-haul flights.

Virgin is one of the few airlines to carry defibrillators for heart attack victims. It also has an advice hotline to a team of doctors on the ground in emergencies.

Next year regulators are to consider a new system whereby airlines could offer free flights to doctors who agree to offer medical cover on long-haul journeys.

See also:

06 Oct 98 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes