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US coastguard rescues cruise passenger in severe pain

The US coastguard have rescued a 57 year-old passenger on board the cruise ship Bahamas Celebration late on Saturday night.

Coast Guard Air Station Miami sent a rescue helicopter to the ship. The man was medically evacuated just after midnight using an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, was hoisted ¬†aboard and flew him to the hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Palm Beach, Florida before being the man was admitted with severe chest pain. The man, whose name has not been released, is in a stable condition.

Coast Guard Seventh District watchstanders were notified late Saturday that a passenger on the cruise ship Bahamas Celebration was severe pain and was in need of a medical evacuation, the Coast Guard said.

Generally, when passengers become ill on cruise ships, the vessels themselves contain state of the art medical facilities to deal with some conditions you wouldn’t usually think a cruise ship crew would be equipped and trained to handle, including x-ray scanners, cardiac support machines and communication facilities which allow the crew to communicate with specialists onshore. It’s worth noting that although the medical staff are trained nurses and doctors, they don’t work for the cruise line and are independently contracted, although any medical expenses you incur on-board will be charged to your room. This is why medical travel insurance cover is important, as although none of us want to injure or fall ill whilst on a cruise, it can still happen.

Medical charges are ramped up when something more serious occurs. In the event that a passenger (such as the one in this news story) is in severe pain, or is suffering a life-threatening condition such a heart attack or a stroke, cruise ships can call the coastguard for help with an emergency medical evacuation. Such services aren’t free, and after the passenger has recovered, they are often faced with a huge medical bill which includes the cost of the emergency medical evacuation unless covered with travel insurance which includes medical evacuation. Although instances of helicopters lifting sick passengers to safety are extremely rare, they do happen.

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