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Medical In-Flight Technology Amenities

The recent scare with my father in law reminds me to do something I haven't for the last few transpacific flights. I usually let the stewardesses know I'm a physician. I've had to come to a half dozen folks' aid over the years, but none of them critically ill, thank goodness.

This time, I'm curious. Not to wish harm on anyone, but I read that Singapore Air has a telemedicine hookup which transmits vitals, oximetry and rhythm strips to MDs on the ground. The MDs then advise the stewardesses how critical the passenger is, and whether or not to attempt an emergency landing. Or God forbid, start resuscitation in-flight. I wonder if they have been instructed in the updated increased compressions-to-breaths ratio that ACLS just changed.

I think the telemedicine device probably works via the satellite internet hookup. It's a bit exorbitant for casual users at $$$ per minute, but for business travellers it probably makes sense for them to pay $40 for 20 hours of broadband connectivity in the air.

We'll see if it has to be used for telemedicine. Hope not, but I'm curious.

I just hope I don't pass this nasty cold to anyone I'd have to take care of on board. Man, just as my vacation ends, I get sick. Isn't that how it always is? I need a vacation from my vacation!

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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.