Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Doctor refused to help in mid-air emergency

A medical doctor has received support online after sharing that he had refused to help a passenger in need of clinical attention on a long-haul flight.

The 30-year-old man opened up about the experience on social media eight days ago. He wrote that the alcoholic drinks he had enjoyed a few hours earlier were the reason why he then backed out of the mid-air emergency. "I'm working as an internal medicine hospitalist at a major hospital," the man wrote.

"Recently, I was on a long-haul international flight. Usually, I sleep on flights, but this was during my waking hours so I decided to spend my time enjoying the inflight entertainment and free drinks. I had already been drinking even before the flight while I was in the lounge," the doctor added.

"I was trying to watch [a] movie and enjoy my drinks when an announcement was made asking if there was a doctor on flight. Normally, I would present myself to the cabin crew and help out, but after several hours of boozing, I was pretty drunk. I was not able to think clearly and probably would have done more harm than good. I didn't react to the announcement at all," he added.

The doctor had shared further down the post that the female passenger sitting next to him had tapped him on the shoulder to alert him to the announcement from the galley.

The doctor had simply replied that another passenger would be able to help or that the cabin crew would receive instructions from a medical team on the ground. The Reddit user wrote about the woman's reaction to his decision to give the emergency a miss. "She said I was an unbelievable a****** and that if the passenger died it was my fault," the doctor added.

"[I responded that] just because I'm a doctor doesn't mean that I'm on call 24/7 to provide medical care on demand. I work when I'm at the hospital, outside I'm just like everyone else and I'm entitled to drink and relax. She had a disgusted look on her face and didn't talk to me after that," he wrote.

Although his co-passenger was displeased with his decision, thousands of Reddit users have backed the medic over his refusal to help out.

Newsweek consulted travel agency owner Elisa Karen Bell for her take on the awkward situation.

"Having traveled extensively for over three decades, I believe that the man handled the situation appropriately. The only suggestion I can add is that he could have told his seatmate that he's over the limit, with regard to the cocktails based on his professional standards," Bell said.

"Therefore, as he said, he could do more harm than good. Sometimes, it simply takes a brief explanation to shut someone up, even though it's none of their business," Bell, who is also a Medicare insurance adviser, added.

Since it had been shared to the social-media platform on December 21 by u/ThrowAwayFoodie22, the Reddit post has been upvoted by 86 percent of the users that engaged with it and commented on more than 2,800 times.

"You are [not the] a****** for not volunteering after you'd been drinking, but why did you not just tell your co-passenger that? The way you describe it you have appeared to just not want to help, and that comes across as really cold and callous," one user wrote.

"Not the A****** for not volunteering, but kind of an idiot for saying oh, someone else will help. If you had just said, 'I can't I've been drinking'. That would be the end of it," another added.

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