What Governmental Shut Down? Coast Guard Drops Blood for Sick Passenger Aboard the Oosterdam Heading to Hawaii

Coast Guard - Oosterdam  The U.S. Coast Guard comes to the rescue again.

Our Federal Government may be in the middle of a shutdown, but the Coast Guard aircraft and helicopters are still flying to help cruise ship passengers in distress on the high seas.

The latest story comes from a newspaper in Hawaii, the Maui News, which reports that a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane flew over a 1.000 miles to "drop six units of blood, a pack of platelets, and two transfusion kits via parachute to medical personnel aboard the Oosterdam."

The heroics were in response to requests for assistance by Holland America Line (HAL) which was dealing with an ailing elderly passenger who was suffering from internal bleeding.  The situation was critical because the cruise ship was far out at sea, heading to Lahaina, Maui. 

You can see the blood drop in the video below.

Photo/ Video Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa McKenzie, courtesy US Coast Guard, via Maui News. 


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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
why don't they - October 9, 2013 9:19 PM

Many other lines are doing emergency blood transfusions with donated blood while at sea.

Is this just another example of how Carnival doesn't want to invest some of it's profits into training their medical staff and buying the kits? After all...the blood is donated by passengers so it's free. So it's just the cost of training and the kits.

Has to be much cheaper than Coast Guard dropping blood.

John Oldman - October 11, 2013 4:04 PM

The previous comment is ill informed. This like does use the crew members and on occasion as donors. In this case the requirement was for a greater quantity than that method would produce. Blood must be type specific. There is only one universal type and it is not common. This line maintains lists of crew with the universal type for emergency use. If you read the report you will see the Coast Guard delivered 6 unit of blood plus platelets. Delivery by the Coast Guard seem like a prudent course of action to me

Christy, RN - November 24, 2013 11:33 PM

(To: Why don't they) When I read the first comment I was angered, then felt bad for the writers ignorance. We are trained to do the blood letting and transfusion. This training is done in nursing school, not on ships. I have no doubt Carnival Corp would do the training if necessary. We also have transfusion kits on board. The coastguard included extra so as not to exhaust our supply.
Passenger donation would be last resort since we cannot guarantee the blood is free from such diseases as hepatitis or HIV. All crew are medically screened before joining the ship, therefore we look for a match with crew first. Out of 800 crew, we had 6 that matched. We were actively transfusing when the drop happened.
John you are correct, it was the prudent course of action. The patient's life depended on this and us !

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