Is There a Doctor Onboard?

Physicians dread in-flight emergencies almost as much as you do. But things are looking up

As a physician who travels quite a bit, I spend a lot of time on planes listening for that dreaded "Is there a doctor onboard?" announcement. I've been called only once--for a woman who had merely fainted. But the incident made me curious about how often this kind of thing happens. I wondered what I would do if confronted with a real midair medical emergency--without access to a hospital staff and the usual emergency equipment. So when the New England Journal of Medicine last week published a study about in-flight medical events, I read it with interest. The study estimated that...

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