A man who suffered a stroke on board the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship was rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter in a dramatic operation that was caught on camera.
The video of the incident, which was released by the Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, shows the helicopter hovering over the cruise ship, which was sailing more than 100 miles off the Oregon coast on Friday. The crew lowered a basket to the ship’s helipad and hoisted the man up while passengers watched from above. The man was then flown to Warrenton, where he was transferred to another helicopter and taken to OHSU Hospital in Portland for treatment, according to the Coast Guard.
The video illustrates what happens when a medical emergency occurs on a cruise ship far from land and how the Coast Guard responds to such situations. The Coast Guard and Celebrity Cruises did not provide more details about the rescue or the man’s condition.
This is not the first time this year that the Coast Guard has evacuated cruise ship passengers by helicopter. According to press releases, the Coast Guard has performed more than a dozen medical evacuations from cruise ships in 2023, citing reasons such as heart attacks, kidney failure, pneumonia and septic shock.
Some of these missions have been challenging and risky. Earlier this month, a Coast Guard helicopter nearly crashed into the ocean while evacuating a 76-year-old passenger experiencing a suspected heart attack from the Carnival Dream cruise ship.
What kind of medical care can you expect on a cruise ship?
Cruise ships operating in the US must follow medical guidelines set by The American College of Emergency Physicians, which specify the qualifications and skills of the doctors and nurses on board.
For instance, cruise ship doctors must have experience in emergency cardiovascular care and minor surgery, and at least one doctor must be certified in advanced trauma life support. Cruise ship nurses must have at least three years of post-graduate experience.
However, if you need medical attention on a cruise ship, you may have to pay for it yourself — most regular health insurance policies do not cover cruise ship medical services. Some Medicare plans may cover some costs if you receive medically necessary treatment within six hours of a US port. Otherwise, you may want to consider buying cruise insurance.
If your condition is beyond the capabilities of the ship’s medical center, you will either be airlifted by helicopter or transferred to a nearby port. The mode of transportation depends on “the weather, the location and the assets available,” Dr. Joe Scott, senior director of fleet medical operations at Carnival Corporation, told USA Today.
We at the Herd Law Firm are proud to fight for maritime workers and passengers in all types of personal injury claims, and never waver in our commitment to help these maritime workers and their families when they are injured.
Image credit: US Coast Guard Northwest
Watch the full video here.