Packer MD: “Why Call for Doctor on the Plane If They’re Just Going to Ignore You?”

MedPage Today — Dr. Milton Packer recounts two very different experiences

You may have read recently about the death of a 25-year-old nurse who suffered a pulmonary embolism during a flight. After she passed out in the bathroom, a physician who was also a passenger on the flight pleaded unsuccessfully with the pilot to divert the plane. The nurse suffered anoxic encephalopathy and died several days later. Reading about this tragic incident stirred my memories of being the “doctor on the plane.” I have played this role on several occasions, and two of my experiences are worth recollecting. Both occurred in the 1980s, when I was a front-line cardiologist facing cardiac emergencies on a daily basis.




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