Reward for Doctor assisting on flight?

Old Feb 20, 11, 10:42 pm
  #1  
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Reward for Doctor assisting on flight?

My other half just got off a Royal Brunei flight from Brunei to Auckland in a completely exhausted state.
The flight crew called for a doctor and she spent the entire flight tending to a sick passenger. They told her that if it hadn't been for her help they would've had to turn the plane around and go back to Brunei.

Should she ask for some type of reward?

A little bit sucky was that they moved the sick passenger to business class and she spent the flight schlepping from econ to business to check on the passenger every hour, after giving the passenger an initial 1/2 hour examination.
Also , they asked her to speak to paramedics upon arrival in auckland and said they'd help her make her connection on time. However, once she got to auckland they just left her to it! Luckily she made the connection anyway.

She normally flies from Christchurch but was flying from Auckland in a unusual circumstance.

She's used to this type of thing being a doc, but seems to me like she should get some type of reward? What should she request? some cash back on the flight would be the most useful since Royal Brunei don't fly from our home airport.

btw, she wasn't impressed with the medical kit on board. Said it badly needed updating!

If she hadn't been so tired I think she would've been more assertive on board but had only stopped over for the day in Brunei so was already tired.
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Old Feb 21, 11, 12:15 am
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It would be nice if they gave her something but I wouldn't bother requesting for anything. It just makes her look bad. It's really the person who got rescued that might want to thank the doctor, not the airline itself. Though it could be argued that it saved the airline sometime and money to turn around, but it also saved your wife and other passengers the time to not turn around.

It does suck that the crew did not communicate with the ground staff and left her there hanging after speaking with the paramedics. But, if doctors are really all about getting something in return for rescuing others, might as well just sit on your chair and don't help. Right?
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Old Feb 21, 11, 1:48 am
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In spite of taking the Oath of Hypocrates, no physician was forced to become a "helper". However, by their nature, they do work HARD and LONG - BUT with excellent financial compensation.

That said, the physician in question did go beyond the usual and it would be nice to get some recognition at least, or even something tangeable. A letter of request or complaint to the HR and CEO types would be pretty normal - especially when the FA or crew did not assist in the connection ...

OTOH, many folks go out of their way to help others and get absolutely NO recognition/reward. It sounds like that flight was one of those "Boy Scout/Girl Guide" days.
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Old Feb 21, 11, 3:42 am
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I think the letter of complaint can be directed at the airline where your wife almost missed her connection due to the promised accommodation missing. Since the crew indicated that the ground staff would be there to assist her, she agreed to stay until after speaking with the paramedics about the patient's status... but the ground staff wasn't there... Anyhow, I wouldn't go more than just that.
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Old Feb 21, 11, 3:53 am
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None whatsoever, and given the risk of not being covered by insurance to treat passengers onboard! Of course most doctor will treat in good faith, and worry about it later...

Having said that, I was given 10k free Enrich miles by MH for treating a patient onboard previously. Although those miles were pretty useless, as they say, it is the thought that counts...
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Old Mar 1, 11, 1:44 am
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I was once given a plastic flower lei after evaluating a patient with multiple syncopal episodes. To be fair, the first offer was for a mai tai which I passed up, since it apparently had contributed to the case at hand....
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Old Mar 1, 11, 2:33 am
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A similar thing happened to a colleague of mine while on a short haul from TPE to Mainland China on CI. He was the only doctor onboard and the case was a severe myocardiac infarction.It turned out he had to perform CPR for the remaining portion of the flight (it was too late into the flight to turn back). According to him, this was what CI did:
1. both he and the patient were moved to Biz class during that unfortunate flight.
2. he was listed as their VIP from then on, always getting free upgrades to C and sometimes F for long haul flights when there was availability (he never had to ask).
3.he was also given free mileage as compensation.
From what I know, he was mighty grateful for the VIP status.
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Old Mar 1, 11, 12:05 pm
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I think the airlines should be falling all over themselves on these situations. She should have been given the biz class seat next to the patient so she could be with them. Additionally, she was not even remotely compensated for her time, training or help. I don't know about the rest of you but I want the doctor(s) to offer their help and if the airlines gets the benefit of those doctors then they should be offering fair compensation. The doctor is not on there payroll so they should be providing something suitable in return. A free upgrade, VIP lounge access, etc. Imagine it was your husband, wife or child. Wouldn't you want the best help possible?

TG
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Old Mar 1, 11, 12:32 pm
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Yes, I agree that she should be comped. Of course, doctors have the obligation to help and I guess anyone in that situation would not have hesitated.
However, I do not think it is bad form to expect a little act of appreciation from the airlines. Now, while it may be inappropriate to expect reimbursement from the patient, the airlines is a service provider and the OP's wife is a paying guest.Furthermore, Brunei air is a full service airline, not a budget one, so it is reasonable to expect some form of 'hospitality' from them.
I think they were very ungracious in not allowing the doctor to be moved to the Biz cabin for easier access to the patient and leaving her to fend for herself afterwards is also quite shocking, IMHO. The least they could have done was to get someone from their office to fast track her and offer her lounge access and free upgrade on that connecting flight. These are simple acts that will cost the airlines zero cents.
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Old Mar 1, 11, 12:40 pm
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I find it interesting that airlines have air marshals on board to guard everyone's security but are unwilling to have a doctor on board to guard people's health and instead rely on the kindness of docs that happen to be on the flight, even though health issues probably happen way more than security issues. An airline should be terribly happy that someone helps them out and offer the person some form of appreciation (without the person having to ask them), even if only a bottle of wine or some miles. Just my 0.02
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Old Mar 1, 11, 4:14 pm
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They should at least write her a thank you letter or something of that sort, especially if it involves the doctor tending to a sick passenger for extended period of time vs. a quick checkup to make sure the passenger isn't going to die in flight.

Maybe you can write a letter not to ask for some sort of reward/compensation but perhaps to report the incident.. I'm sure you'll get something in return.
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Old Mar 1, 11, 4:16 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyinDutchman View Post
I find it interesting that airlines have air marshals on board to guard everyone's security but are unwilling to have a doctor on board to guard people's health and instead rely on the kindness of docs that happen to be on the flight, even though health issues probably happen way more than security issues. An airline should be terribly happy that someone helps them out and offer the person some form of appreciation (without the person having to ask them), even if only a bottle of wine or some miles. Just my 0.02
Probably a matter of cost... air marshals are paid by the government probably 30-40bux/hr, the airline just have to give up a free seat (that probably would have been empty anyways).
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Old Mar 2, 11, 5:50 pm
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OT - Had to perform CPR in Auckland airport few years ago. After waiting for more than 30min in long queue for immigration clearance, an elderly gentleman just dropped down behind me. Obviously myocardial infarction given the visible median sternotomy scar on his chest and absent pulse rate. A Spanish tourist and I performed CPR - successfully and managed to revive him. Took ages for emergency paramedics to arrive. However, the Spaniard and I were ignored. The gentleman, his spouse and another person ( who did nothing at all, but like I, also claimed to be a doctor) were whisked away. The Spaniard and I lost our turn in the queue during the 30min rescue and had to join back anew into the queue.

However, some people applauded our efforts and came up to shake hand and say thank you. That alone was priceless....

I suppose during emergencies, some people cope well, others not so. Airlines, airport management and immigration included!
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Old Mar 3, 11, 6:02 pm
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They should have moved her up to biz as a minimum.

As for rewards, that can be a tricky situation legally (at least here in the US), because then the doctor can become liable for their services instead of being shielded by good Samaritan laws.
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Old Mar 3, 11, 6:28 pm
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I do not understand, doctors will be liable irregardless of whether he/she is paid and upgrades/mileage are freebies, not resellable commodities, so the doctor is not officially 'paid', right?
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