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Dr. gives medical assistance in-flight; any airline compensation?

Dr. gives medical assistance in-flight; any airline compensation?

Old Jul 12, 2014, 9:58 pm
  #1  
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Dr. gives medical assistance in-flight; any airline compensation?

Been lurking here for a while and finally decided to join.

I'm a physician and provided medical assistance approx 3 months ago on a SFO -YYZ flight.
To make a long story short, I ended up dealing with this situation for 3/4 of the flight.

I have never hesitated to assist in the past and my experience has been that AC has be prompt to provide "compensation."
In the past I have always received a letter of appreciation and Aeroplan points.
This time round however absolutely nothing from AC. No letter of appreciation. No points. Nothing.

Has AC changed their policy in dealing with physicians proving assistance in flight?
Is it unreasonable to expect anything from AC?
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Old Jul 12, 2014, 11:03 pm
  #2  
 
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Hippocratic oath
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Old Jul 12, 2014, 11:14 pm
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As far as I know there hasn't been a policy change. Hippocratic oath is an interesting point... even so a letter thanking you from AC/the passenger should really have been given.

Seems odd to be dealing with the situation 3h45m out of a 5hr flight, if the situation was such that constant supervision by a physician - not an FA - was required, IMHO AC should probably have diverted.
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Old Jul 12, 2014, 11:28 pm
  #4  
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A gesture from AC would be nice for sure regardless of the duty to come to a patient's aid.
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Old Jul 12, 2014, 11:37 pm
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Normally it is the choice of 10000 status miles or 15000 non status miles, but they usually send a letter by a month (I guess which you already know). You could call up AC (start there) and indicate that you have previously been given AE miles as a "goodwill gesture" (don't use the word compensation!) for medical services provided on a certain date and that you haven't received a letter yet.
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Old Jul 12, 2014, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by upgradesecret
Hippocratic oath
Meh!

It was exactly that, that probably made this doc get up and provide assistance. I have heard that many docs, that will not do this out of fear of litigation. (although some protection is provided in emergencies)

Some kind of acknowledgement is nice and mountaingrl is correct you should be sent a thank-you letter and an offer of AE miles or status miles. This will only happen if you completed some paperwork on the flight regarding the incident, which should have been given to you by the crew.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 12:36 am
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Is it possible that the SD did not fill out the paperwork?

I don't think writing a polite letter to AC outlining the situation and hinting at a 'goodwill gesture' is unwarranted. If this were on the ground, you would have rendered assistance and paramedics would have been on scene within minutes. I wouldn't expect to be compensated for providing medical assistance, but you still lost 4 hours of personal time on a flight to deal with a stressful situation.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 12:43 am
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Originally Posted by yvr76
Is it possible that the SD did not fill out the paperwork?

I don't think writing a polite letter to AC outlining the situation and hinting at a 'goodwill gesture' is unwarranted. If this were on the ground, you would have rendered assistance and paramedics would have been on scene within minutes. I wouldn't expect to be compensated for providing medical assistance, but you still lost 4 hours of personal time on a flight to deal with a stressful situation.
+1.

Rinial, did they ask you to fill out paperwork and your contact info on the flight?

They must have reduced the goodwill AP points. 4 years ago it was 25,000 AP miles or 20,000 status miles.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 1:14 am
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I've always been curious about this. If a person needs medical attention on the ground it is rendered on a fee for service basis, and the patient pays (or is expected to pay), either directly or through an insurance policy. Why would it be different in the air? While the airline should be thankful that a qualified bystander will step in and help out, isn't it the patient's responsibility to pay for the service received?
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 7:27 am
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Originally Posted by winnipegrev
As far as I know there hasn't been a policy change. Hippocratic oath is an interesting point... even so a letter thanking you from AC/the passenger should really have been given.

Seems odd to be dealing with the situation 3h45m out of a 5hr flight, if the situation was such that constant supervision by a physician - not an FA - was required, IMHO AC should probably have diverted.
Hippocratic oath is why as a physician I would provide assistance.
Keep in mind I am placing myself in a very precarious situation which is why some docs may not volunteer to help(as well litigation issues). You are in unfamiliar surroundings trying to provide medical care with limited supplies and limited access to help, and making decisions as to whether to divert or not. I decided the situation did not call for a diversion.
Passengers condition improved and I decided that the situation just warranted close monitoring.


I did complete the paperwork.

The bottom line for me is that I potentially averted a diversion. I took responsibility of the situation and relieved the FA's of some of the responsibility.

Whats that worth to AC?
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by rinial


I did complete the paperwork.

....
Probably an oversight, but I'd be inclined to write and ask if their policy has changed. Maybe ask in the "Official AC Representative" thread too as Ben Smith, AC's CCO answers questions there.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 8:33 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by rinial
Whats that worth to AC?
$1,000 is what the courts awarded Dr. Henry Coopersmith this case though that was a few years back. While I shared that verdict here on FT at the time, the link in the post is dead so if OP wants to read more I dug up the CBC article on the case which is here.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 9:08 am
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Originally Posted by winnipegrev
As far as I know there hasn't been a policy change. Hippocratic oath is an interesting point... even so a letter thanking you from AC/the passenger should really have been given.

Seems odd to be dealing with the situation 3h45m out of a 5hr flight, if the situation was such that constant supervision by a physician - not an FA - was required, IMHO AC should probably have diverted.
In all likelihood it was because there was an attending physician that the flight was able to continue without diverting, significantly lessening the costs to AC.

Don't other airlines have some sort of directory for doctor's or something (I heard LH did) so that they can easily be rewarded if called upon during flight??
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 10:01 am
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I'm a surgeon and recently provided assistance on YVR-YYZ on a 77W flight. PAX was fine. I swapped my seat so my mom sat in J and me in Y. SD a very senior guy thanked me several times, but didn't offer me any on-board amenities (e.g. no alcohol, snacks, leftover J meal, etc). Just did paperwork and that was it. I've provided medical assistance on AC flight a few times prior but never got any letters or points. I didn't really expect anything afterwards but some onboard thank-you perks would've been nice. I flew a YYZ-YVR flight on the A321 a month ago and put my mom on J and me in Y and the SD came over and offered me a complementary alcoholic beverage! I don't drink much so I actually declined, but the offer was certainly appreciated!

Whom should we email regarding the flight incident and goodwill potential from AC?
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 10:03 am
  #15  
 
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I've always been curious as to what they have available on flights. Personally I'd be a little hesitant to volunteer without knowing what equipment is available.
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