MAIN STREET CLOSED, IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, BETWEEN UNIVERSITY AND ELMWOOD
Docs On A Plane
"Is there a doctor on the plane?"
If you've flown enough times, chances are you've heard airline attendants ask that question at least once. And most of the time, there's at least one doctor on the plane willing to step up to help.
But how much can that doctor actually help in an in-flight emergency?
Dr. Raymond Bertina of Central Illinois Radiological Associates says oftentimes, the physicians who respond to the tens of thousands of emergencies each year aren't sure of what they're doing. But it's not because they're bad doctors.
"A pediatrician, for example, will know more than a lay person. But they might feel intimidated. If they run into an adult having a heart attack, they may have never seen that," he said.
Dr. Courtney Cook of the University of Illinois College of Medicine - Peoria echoed the sentiment.
"We may have all been trained in medical school, but we may have been practicing something else for years," she said.
While most major airlines have their own guidelines for dealing with a medical situation, those guidelines are not uniform. More importantly, physicians are not made aware of what the procedure is, meaning a lot of crucial time may be wasted figuring out how to respond instead of focusing on patient care.
Dr. Bertino and Dr. Cook are working on a project to set a standard procedure for doctors responding to an in-flight emergency. The basic idea is to identify common maladies, and establish what to do when they are encountered.
"If you have an idea of what to expect, you can put things into a framework, diagnose things much more quickly and treat things more quickly," said Dr. Bertino.
The project is underway now, starting with a survey being sent out to area physicians to gauge where they are in terms of their abilities to respond to medical situations in the air.