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Old November 12th, 2006, 09:46 PM
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Default medical facilities on ship

We are just planning our first ever cruise and it will be to Alaska. I'm concerned about health care on board as my hubby had a major heart attack a few years ago. Even though we have been to Yosemite and hiked in Glacier Nat. Park since, I worry about this trip. How are the medical facilities on board? Can they handle only the minor emergencies, or are they equipped for something major?
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Old November 13th, 2006, 06:03 AM
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Most cruise ships today, do have facilities that can handle all the minor things, if its anything life threatening, they air lift the passenger to the nearest port with a hospital. Always a good reason to take out the travel insurance.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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There are "good" medical facilities on a ship. They will, however, ship you out if not stable etc. They aren't a "hospital.

Definately do your homework and get excellent medical insurance coverage. This is a foreign vessel and your regular health insurance is likely to have no coverage. Especially look over policy details for transportation coverage. It can run $10,000++++++ for a med evac via helicopter.
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Old November 13th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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I have visited the medical facilities twice, once in 2001 on the Mille during a Mediterranean cruise. I had an attack of atrial fibrillation (I spent 18 hours in the sick bay). My doctor reviewed all the records of the event and said they did everything right and he was surprised on how well equipped the medical facility aboard was. The doctors gave the right treatment, meds, etc. (My regular Blue Cross insurance policy covered all expenses----over $5,000.00). On our 2005 cruise to Alaska aboard the Summit my elderly mother fell reboarding the ship in Skagway. They treated her scrapes and bruises but dismissed the fact that she had shattered her little finger. By the time we returned home it was too late to treat it. Celebrity didn't charge Mom for the visit possibly because she tripped due to the uneven pavement leading to the ship. I did have travel insurance and used it for our temporary lodging in Sicily (where they took me off the ship) and then the boat train to Rome to reboard the ship, I believe it was less than $200.00 in expenses. The Sicilian coast guard that removed me from the ship and the hospital where I was treated and released (said I was fine) did not bill me.

P. S. My Mom had heart surgery (four-way bypass) in 2003 and she's doing great at age 85!
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Old November 13th, 2006, 07:12 PM
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Ann,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
We are just planning our first ever cruise and it will be to Alaska. I'm concerned about health care on board as my hubby had a major heart attack a few years ago. Even though we have been to Yosemite and hiked in Glacier Nat. Park since, I worry about this trip. How are the medical facilities on board? Can they handle only the minor emergencies, or are they equipped for something major?
The sick bays (medical centers) on modern cruise ships are ready for just about any foreseeable kind of medical emergency. Most ships now have three or four medical doctors and a staff of five or six nurses onboard. They also have very good equipment including the latest portable defibrilators (which also act as heart monitors), EKG machines, X-ray machines, and well equipped laboratories and pharmaceutical units. Not only that, but they are within a thousand feet of your cabin and any other location where you might go, so they can respond much more quickly than an ambulance or a team of EMT's ashore. Most ships now also have direct "telemedicine" links to a major medical center somewhere in the United States, so the physicians onboard can consult specialists in any field whenever a patient's situation warrants such consultation. Indeed, the physicians onboard often become the hands of the specialists, who direct the actual treatment, in such situations.

The physicians onboard always evaluate each patient's situation and decide, in real time, what is best for the patient. I think it was aboard my last "Panama Canal" cruise that the ship (GTS Infinity) recieved a distress call requesting assistance with a medical emergency from a private fishing boat off the Baja Coast on the next to last day. The ship's physicians examined the patient, who was a U. S. citizen having a heart attack, and determined that the best course of action was to bring him into the ship's medical center and take him to San Diego aboard the ship. They stabilized his condition and arranged for an ambulance to transport him to a hospital in San Diego when the ship arrived the next morning. Medical evacuation is NOT an "automatic" in a medical emergency, but rather an option employed only when (1) the ship's sick bay cannot provide proper treatment and (2) the medical evacuation does not pose a risk to the patient's health.

If you are going to have a medical emergency, a cruise ship is probably the best place in the world to do so because the medical staff is right there to take care of you.

Norm.
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Old November 14th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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Thanks so much to all. I feel much better. He is really in good health and has the go ahead from his doctor, but I almost lost him at 58 and if it hadn't been for helicopter evacuation he would not be alive today. We are finally seeing the travel agent today. Can't wait for our trip of a lifetime!
Ann
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Old November 14th, 2006, 12:20 PM
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Default Medical Facilities

8) Cruise ships now have M.D.s that are internists...and speak english....What I would do is beside the travel isurance..is take a copy of your husbands last EKG and a list of his M.D.s phone numbers...The travel insurance MAYNOT cover because of a"pre-existing" condition. BUT GO!!!
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Old November 14th, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Ann,

Yes Parrot Mom is so right, do take your husbands medical records with you. One of the reasons I was taken off the ship is because the ship's doctors thought I had a silent heart attack due to my EKG irregularity (which is normal for me). I tried to explain this to them to no avail. Also, take your cell phone with your husband's doctor's number...makes it lots easier if there are any problems. My Mom's heart attack/by-pass surgery has not prevented her from cruising...she's looking forward to her next cruise! I know you'll love Alaska..it's so beautiful. Have a wonderful time!
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Old November 15th, 2006, 08:07 PM
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Thanks to all. We booked the Diamond Princess for May 16 today! We are so excited!!
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Old November 25th, 2006, 11:44 PM
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Ann: enjoy the cruise with your husband. My 58 year old husband suffered a heart attack last last year - job stress related. His cardiologist said a cruise would be the best thing for him and it was. We had second thoughts about going, but once we set sail we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. It was our first time to Alaska, and won't be our last. The land is more magnificent than you can image.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 11:21 PM
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Default Re: medical facilities on ship

Medical facilities are pretty good, excepting for delivering babies, emergency infant care and major trauma. Then again, a medical evacuation for a heart attack would have been necessary where you hiked (BTDT both locations) and I have seen such evacuations aboard ship when headed up the Mississippi. "Bright Star" was the medical code word at HAL back then.

Get travel insurance and take a CPR/AED class. The AEDs are common now so get used to spotting them in the malls, ships and etc. If he is on medications always have them on hand with a backup supply in your luggage.

Not qualified to give you medical advice, but I am a Red Cross Life Guard, EFR Primary and Secondary Care Card Holder, PADI Rescue Diver, Divemaster, and etc. If in any doubt, consult your doctor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann Cox
We are just planning our first ever cruise and it will be to Alaska. I'm concerned about health care on board as my hubby had a major heart attack a few years ago. Even though we have been to Yosemite and hiked in Glacier Nat. Park since, I worry about this trip. How are the medical facilities on board? Can they handle only the minor emergencies, or are they equipped for something major?
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Old November 29th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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THEY ARE THERE IF YOU NEED THEM FULLY EQUIPTED MY MOM WENT INTO CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE AND THEY WERE THERE IN SECONDS THEY SAVED HER LIFE WHEN WE DOCKED IN BARBADOS WE CLEARED CUSTOMS AND THEY PICKED US UP VERY QUICKLY THEY CAN ALSO MEDIVAC IF NEEDED TAKE CRUISE INSURANCE OUT A MUST NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE!!!! FOR THE THOUSANDS WE SPEND A FEW MORE DOLLARS WON'T MATTER FOR PEACE OF MIND GOOD LUCK AND THAT WAS 1990 THEY MUST BE MORE EFFICIENT NOW
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