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Health at Sea Questions on the treatment of sea sickness and other cruise-related health topics.

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Old December 17th, 2000, 10:00 AM
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Default Nedical Attention Aboard Ship


This posing has been prompted by a court case I reviewed. The case is cited as Rand v Hatch, 762Southern 2nd 1001(8/16/2000) Hatch was a passenger aboard a Carnival Cruise Line Ship, the MS Fantasy. While at sea in Mexican waters Hatch visited Rand the ship's doctor to have her blood sugar checked. The doctor and nurse informed her that her blood sugar level was 600 and she was given an insulin injections. The injection caused Hatch to lose consciousness and she began to have convulsions.
As the consequence Hatch returned to the doctor's office wither her own glucose meter that showed a blood sugar level of 21.

On returning from the cruise, Hatch sued for malpractice. Unfortunately I do no know the outcome since the court case was a battle to determine whether the Florida Medical Malpractice law applied or Maritime Law. It was decided by the court that Maritime law applies so the write of common law certiorari sought by Rand was denied. It seems Hatch did not want to have to comply with the mandatory pre-suit screening of the Florida law and probably the other features of the typical state malpractice laws.

Over the many years we have cruised we have heard and accumulated anecdotes about medical attention aboard a cruise hip we learned from other passengers.. These ranged from the dialysis equipment not working; another time the nurse who operates the dialysis equipment failed to show up for that cruise; a doctor wanting to take a male passenger off the ship to a hospital in Acapulco for a muscle in his groin from playing paddle tennis . The man had enough sense to call is doctor in the states who recommended a muscle relaxant which relieved his pain in a couple of hours.

In our own case we canceled a cruise in November because three weeks before the cruise the wife was discharged from a hospital after being treated for blood clots in the leg and lungs. The long recovery requires taking Coudamin a blood thinner and weekly blood testing. We could not rely on a ship doctor to make these tests and had no way of knowing if the doctor could make the test and determine how much of the drug she must take for the following week. We had travel insurance through Travelex and we received the total fare back, although we would have preferred taking the cruise.

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