Don’t Get Sick: Preparing For Your Cruise
Cruise ships have some basic logistical problems. Firstly, they are what they claim: Giant cities on the sea where thousands congregate in close quarters. Most all food is prepared in common areas on board, which allows viral ailments spread rapidly. That’s what happened in January of this year when hundreds of passengers contracted the noro stomach flu. All told, 561 passengers and 31 crew members were treated for symptoms of the contagious stomach virus. It was a tricky situation because there is usually only one medical facility on a cruise ship so all the passengers and crew members needing medical attention are all in one place, waiting for hours to be seen, allowing this highly contagious infection to spread further and faster.
Passengers and crew members present to the ship’s infirmary with a myriad of problems, including, heart conditions/heart attacks, strokes, or serious personal injuries. The medical staff is oftem from foreign countries and are not well trained, and having trouble speaking English. Furthermore, because the ship is at sea a good portion of the time, passengers cannot be evacuated to shoreside facilities. Because of the lack of competent medical personnel and the inability to evacuate the person, passengers and crew member experiencing such medical problems don’t always make it off the ship alive.
Cruise Lines Say Guest Safety is a Top Priority
Cruise lines respond to concerns over their vessels by claiming that the safety of their guests is their top priority. Indeed, over 30 million people from all over the world will go on cruises each year. The majority of them will come home healthy and happy. But those who do get sick on cruise ships have had some very bad experiences.
Doctors are General Care Practitioners
The doctors aboard cruise ships are generally not specialists, are not well trained and the facilities are not well equipped. Although the cruise lines advertise their medical staff and facilities to meet the requirements of the American College of Emergency Room Physicians, more often than not they do not.
Buy Travel Insurance
If you’re unsure of how your health insurance works at sea or whether or not you’ll be covered in the case of a medical emergency while out of the country, you should buy travel health insurance. However, the majority of passengers don’t bother purchasing travel insurance for their trip. Passengers without travel insurance may find themselves stuck paying the cost of the helicopter evacuation off the ship and the costs related to the care they get at the nearest hospital. There have even been cases where passengers were not allowed to leave the shoreside hospital until they paid their bill in full.
Talk to a Miami Cruise Line Injury Attorney
Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford helps those injured aboard cruise ships recover money damages. Talk to us today for a free consultation.