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Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2017 May;35(2):443-463. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2017.01.005.

Is There a Doctor Onboard? Medical Emergencies at 40,000 Feet.

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National Wilderness Medicine Conferences, 3790 El Camino Real, Suite 2029, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA; Medical Operations, NASA Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Road 1 (SD3), Houston, TX 77058, USA. Electronic address:


It is estimated 2.75 billion people travel aboard commercial airlines every year and 44,000 in-flight medical emergencies occur worldwide each year. Wilderness medicine requires a commonsense and improvisational approach to medical issues. A sudden call for assistance in the austere and unfamiliar surroundings of an airliner cabin may present the responding medical professional with a "wilderness medicine" experience. From resource management to equipment, this article sheds light on the unique conditions, challenges, and constraints of the flight environment.


FAA; Flight attendants; In-flight medical emergencies; Wilderness medicine

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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