The study, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and published in The New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that doctors, nurses and other medical professionals on planes help treat sick passengers in three-fourths of the emergencies observed. Researchers analyzed records of in-flight medical phone calls from five domestic and international airlines to UPMC's STAT-MD Communications Center, a 24-hour, doctor-run medical command center, from Jan. 1, 2008 through Oct. 31, 2010. Several airlines use a medical communications facility to speak with doctors on the ground, but it is not required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). STAT-MD advised 11,920 in-flight medical calls during the period of the study. The most common in-flight issues documented included: respiratory symptoms fainting, or near fainting nausea or vomiting Doctor-passengers gave medical help in close to half of all those calls, according to the investigators. Nurses and emergency medical technicians also aided in an additional 28% of the calls. Flights that made landings in alternate destinations because of medical issues occurred in 7.3% of the incidents. The majority of passengers who were treated in-flight showed positive results. Of those 11,000 patients: 25.8% were transferred to a hospital by emergency medical services 8.6% were admitted and 0.3% died either on the plane or upon arrival to the hospital The most common reasons for admission to a hospital included respiratory and cardiac symptoms. The study findings showed that the majority of calls could be handled by the flight attendants, who are trained in emergency procedures and can use an FAA-required emergency medical kit, along with medical volunteers. In these instances, doctors who were on the ground gave additional advice, like use of certain medications in the medical kit, and helping the pilot and crew in making choices about whether the aircraft needed to change its course. Christian Martin-Gill, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of emergency medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said: "We wanted to provide a description of the type of emergencies commonly treated on an aircraft, identify the outcomes of these patients and provide an understanding of the treatment capabilities available on the aircraft in the medical kit and through experts on the ground." Doctors, health care professionals and others should be trained on how to deal with crises, emergencies and illnesses in tight, cramped, and unfamiliar airplane settings, so that they may effectively come to people's aid when needed. Dr. Martin-Gill concluded: "Commercial air travel is generally safe, and in-flight deaths are rare. We hope to look more closely at the most common conditions and which ones require follow-up care so we can better tailor treatment recommendations for passengers." In a similar study from 2009, researchers suggested that fainting was the most common in-flight emergency , followed by stomach issues, and heart conditions. Written by Kelly Fitzgerald <br> <br>For the original version which includes any sort of supplementary images or videos, check out Medical Professionals On Board Help With In-Flight Emergencies
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