Medivac defintion: "Air transport of persons to a place where they can receive medical or surgical care; medical evacuation."
"Medivac" is a word that you hope the cruise ship doctor has heard before if you become seriously ill or injured during a cruise. As I have mentioned in prior blogs, a cruise ship is the last place you want to be if you have a life threatening situation with your health. Elderly passengers are particularly vulnerable when they have to rely on the medical skill and experience of ship doctor trained outside of the U.S.
Over one-half of the passengers who seek medical treatment during cruises are over age 65. Many passengers have pre-existing medical conditions including heart conditions. Elderly passengers are at risk for complications on cruise ships with noro-virus and are then at the mercy of the ship doctors.
Luckily for passengers on cruise ships near U.S. ports, the U.S. Coast Guard can come to the rescue. U.S. citizens don’t appreciate just how fortunate they are when a U.S. Coast helicopter arrives on the scene and saves the day. Sometimes we hear of the Canadian Coast Guard rescuing Americans, like here.
Here we have a Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Astoria pulling an injured passenger from the deck of the Volendam cruise ship operated by Holland American Line.
The passenger apparently sustained head and back injuries in a fall as the cruise ship was headed from Seattle to Hawaii. Luckily for him, the ship was still a hundred miles from Oregon. Thanks to the Coast Guard, the cruise passenger was taken to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for medical treatment.
Video – U.S. Coast Guard (via NWCN.com / Washington News)