Cruise lines feature an array of incredible entertainment options for guests. Anyone sailing the high seas on a cruise ship in this day and age can expect to keep as busy – or not busy – as they like. With dozens of fun and innovative features like obstacle courses, winding water slides, cupcake making workshops, and even an aquatic acrobat show, there’s never really a dull moment onboard a ship. But while cruise passengers can look forward to tons of shipboard activities, they shouldn’t expect much in the health department.
Though cruise companies seem to have endless funds to stock their fleets with all the latest and greatest “wow factor” features, they can’t seem to find the resources – or desire – to improve onboard medical facilities, the hiring process for the doctors that operate these facilities, or the manner in which ship staff respond to emergency medical situations. Our cruise ship passenger law firm has discussed these issues time and time again, but we have yet to see a big improvement in the way cruise lines address passenger safety. A large component of passenger safety includes a cruise line’s ability to handle sicknesses and injuries. After all, if a ship doesn’t have sufficient equipment to treat sick or injured passengers, or doesn’t act quickly to ensure the victim is airlifted off the vessel to the nearest land-based hospital, passenger lives are placed at risk.
Sadly, from what we’ve have seen over the years, the number of times cruise lines actually offer passengers adequate assistance following an injury or illness is abysmal. There have been numerous cases in which an ill or injured passenger sought medical treatment at a ship’s sick bay, only to be turned away because the onboard physician did not believe their ailments were serious enough. There have also been times in which ship doctors misdiagnosed passengers, many times costing them their lives.
The number of Norovirus outbreaks is increasing, the number of passenger injuries is increasing, but the number of victims that actually get the help they need is dwindling. If you are planning on taking a cruise anytime soon, there are a few things you should know about what happens when you become sick or injured at sea. Continue reading