Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > TravelBuzz
Reload this Page >

Holding All Pax On Board Due To Medical Incident

Holding All Pax On Board Due To Medical Incident

Old Jul 16, 19, 4:34 pm
  #1  
BOH
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Programs: IC Hotels Spire, BA Gold
Posts: 7,032
Holding All Pax On Board Due To Medical Incident

Why do they do this? It happened to me 4 months ago and my partner today (both European flights). A pax on board needed medical attention so on landing they held all other pax on board until the paramedics arrived and treated the person. Why?

Surely the person who is ill wants privacy, not surrounded by gawping other pax invading their privacy and desperately trying to find out was going some, some even taking pictures today according to my GF - yes seriously!! The paramedics took around 15-20 minutes today to arrive, during which time the rest of the pax could have easily got off. Plus surely the paramedics want space and privacy too to attend to the pax, why would they want to be surrounded by rubber necking pax trying to see what is going on?
BOH is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 4:44 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: PWM - the way life should be
Posts: 11,725
Probably to keep the aisle clear for paramedics to access the patient or evacuate them.

Also I suppose that, since they initially don't know what they're dealing with they don't want people leaving the plane in case it turns out to be something contagious or otherwise dangerous.
nancypants, wrp96, ajGoes and 6 others like this.
gfunkdave is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 4:46 pm
  #3  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 43,328
Makes all the sense in the world. Paramedics need unimpeded access to the patient, the cabin door, and the areas inbetween. Once they have made a judgment call, it may make sense to wait and offload the rest of the passengers or it may make sense to transport the patient immediately.

Of course it is awkward from a privacy perspective, but that seems to be a subsidiary concern to living.
Often1 is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 7:37 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Neither here nor there
Programs: DL plt, HH dia, MR Plat, CC con, at least two of those buy 10 get 1 free coffee cards
Posts: 1,513
As one who has taken patients off of commercial airliners many times, this is usually something the airline ground staff decide to do. Unless the patient is in extremis (CPR in progress type of extremis), it's much easier to get everybody off and then let us come on with all our equipment and such. There's more privacy, more room to work-i can set equipment down on now empty seats, it's easier to carry the patient off the plane on a backboard if that's required, etc, etc....
84fiero and nancypants like this.
aroundtheworld76 is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 9:12 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 82
This happened to me once in NTE, flying from LIS. Just a few minutes after take-off we were informed that the on-board service was cancelled due to an medical issue and we had to wait onboard for at least 20 minutes after landing so that the french paramedics could work.
savonarola is offline  
Old Jul 16, 19, 9:44 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Massachusetts, USA; AA Plat (2.90MM), DL GM and Flying Colonel (1.04MM); Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 22,082
I should think that a lot would depend on how soon the paramedics might, in the best case, arrive - which could be sooner than they actually do. Once passengers start to deplane, the aisle(s) will be full of passengers heading for the door with their carry-ons. It can take a while to clear them out even if the crew announces - and enforces - "everyone not already forward of Row 6 sit back down," to say nothing of getting people a lot more upset than they would have been if they had simply been told to stay in their seats. Then, when the crisis has been dealt with, the crew has to round up all the passengers and get them back in their seats, with their carry-ons restowed - and we know how that can be.

All things considered, letting people off the plane could often be more trouble than the opportunity to hang out in a gate area for 15 minutes is worth.
Efrem is offline  
Old Jul 17, 19, 7:18 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Pittsburgh
Programs: MR/SPG LT PLT, AA LT PLT, HH GLD, UA SLV, Avis PreferredPlus
Posts: 25,178
Originally Posted by BOH View Post
Surely the person who is ill wants privacy, not surrounded by gawping other pax
If I was in a medical emergency, I'd worry a lot more abut being treated as soon as possible.
CPRich is online now  
Old Jul 17, 19, 8:04 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: PDX
Programs: AA LT PLT (2.6+ MM), UA 1K, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold.
Posts: 1,488
Has happened to me. Fairly serious condition by the look of it. Took at least 30 minutes to get the pax off, during which they stabilized and hooked up drips etc. Annoying part of the experience for me was a missed connection as a result of the delay - The plane was already late on an international inbound leg connecting to a domestic. Nothing I could do but watch, it was a seat 2 rows forward and on the other side of the aisle from me.
timfountain is offline  
Old Jul 17, 19, 8:17 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Ontario. Canada
Programs: Aeroplan, IHG, Enterprise, Avios, Nexus
Posts: 5,337
Keeping the passengers seated provides certainty that the paramedics won't arrive in the middle of disembarking which could hinder access to the patient. In the situation described in the original post passengers could, in theory, have departed without obstructing the delivery of medical assistance. However, in different circumstances it is equally possible letting the passengers leave might have obstructed the medics. It is not only the aircraft but the jetway and corridors that would also need to be kept clear.

The privacy argument is a bit weak. The patient is already on the plane in public, in full view of other passengers, and their privacy is no more compromised by making the passengers wait until the patient is cared for and transported off the aircraft. Or is this more about passengers who believe their important meeting, flight connection, desire to quickly retrieve their bags or other personal reason are vastly more important than the potential of impeding emergency care to a passenger in medical distress?
ajGoes likes this.
Badenoch is offline  
Old Jul 17, 19, 10:35 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: on the path to perdition
Programs: Delta, United
Posts: 4,117
I am amazed some people can not understand why they are asked to remain seated ...
FlyingUnderTheRadar is offline  
Old Jul 18, 19, 4:36 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: South of London.
Programs: Delta SE, Marriott Silver, Omni Select Plat
Posts: 12,848
There is the additional worry that the passenger has some sort of communicable disease (ebola for example) and the other passengers on board need to be quarantined.
ajGoes likes this.
USA_flyer is offline  
Old Jul 18, 19, 7:27 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: South Park, CO
Programs: Tegridy Elite
Posts: 5,172
Originally Posted by aroundtheworld76 View Post
As one who has taken patients off of commercial airliners many times, this is usually something the airline ground staff decide to do. Unless the patient is in extremis (CPR in progress type of extremis), it's much easier to get everybody off and then let us come on with all our equipment and such. There's more privacy, more room to work-i can set equipment down on now empty seats, it's easier to carry the patient off the plane on a backboard if that's required, etc, etc....
Makes sense. Good to hear from someone who actually does this.
84fiero is offline  
Old Jul 18, 19, 7:41 am
  #13  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 43,328
Originally Posted by aroundtheworld76 View Post
As one who has taken patients off of commercial airliners many times, this is usually something the airline ground staff decide to do. Unless the patient is in extremis (CPR in progress type of extremis), it's much easier to get everybody off and then let us come on with all our equipment and such. There's more privacy, more room to work-i can set equipment down on now empty seats, it's easier to carry the patient off the plane on a backboard if that's required, etc, etc....
You are looking at this from the perspective of triage already having been performed, presumably by someone with rudimentary crew training.

There are many conditions short of not breathing which are emergent and while it may be nice to have more room, I still want the paramedics to have unimpeded access to the patient and then the ability to move the patient unimpeded if the paramedics make the judgment that moving the patient immediately is in order.

The judgment as to whether to hold passengers is likely part of most carriers' protocol. E.g., if there is a paramedic response, passengers are held.
ajGoes likes this.
Often1 is offline  
Old Jul 18, 19, 11:06 am
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 31,562
Originally Posted by BOH View Post
Plus surely the paramedics want space and privacy too to attend to the pax, why would they want to be surrounded by rubber necking pax trying to see what is going on?
Paramedics are far more concerned with providing care than with privacy.
altabello likes this.
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old Jul 18, 19, 11:08 am
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Pittsburgh
Programs: MR/SPG LT PLT, AA LT PLT, HH GLD, UA SLV, Avis PreferredPlus
Posts: 25,178
Originally Posted by aroundtheworld76 View Post
As one who has taken patients off of commercial airliners many times, this is usually something the airline ground staff decide to do. Unless the patient is in extremis (CPR in progress type of extremis), it's much easier to get everybody off and then let us come on with all our equipment and such. There's more privacy, more room to work-i can set equipment down on now empty seats, it's easier to carry the patient off the plane on a backboard if that's required, etc, etc....
Who is making this decision? An FA decides how critical a medical situation is?
CPRich is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread