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'Is There a Doctor on Board?' Now There's an App for In-Flight Emergencies
Posted on: 9/2/2016

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As a physician boarding a commercial airline, you know it’s always possible that you will hear that urgent announcement during your flight: “Is there a doctor on board?”

Most doctors do not typically treat patients in emergency situations – let alone on an airplane with limited equipment, little space to move and no quick access to the emergency medical help available on the ground.

Physicians may soon be looking to a familiar place to address these situations: their smartphones.

ISMS member Raymond E. Bertino, MD, an interventional radiologist, saw that no tools were available to aid physicians who may be asked to help a passenger needing medical attention during a flight, and decided to help. Working with a group of colleagues, including fellow ISMS member Courtney J. Cook, MD, Dr. Bertino designed a new app called AirRx.

AirRx guides physicians through 23 of the most common medical emergency scenarios that occur on airplanes and also has information about what medications are on board, how to interact with the pilot and airline staff, how decisions should be made regarding diverting a flight, medical legal concerns and what to do if the patient dies.

All the information is stored on the phone, so AirRx can be accessed while your phone is in airplane mode.

In-flight emergencies will always have their “ups and downs,” so to be ready for take-off, don’t board the plane without AirRx loaded on your device.

AirRx is a nonprofit venture; proceeds from the $4.99 app will go toward maintaining the application.

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