We recently received a compliment about our onboard medical team and their services. We also received an inquiry about medical services onboard and how we recruit physicians. Our shipboard medical facilities are built, stocked and equipped to meet or exceed guidelines established by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), and the Cruise Ship & Maritime Medicine Section, which address many critical areas, including medical facility size, equipment and supplies, staff credentials, medical record and communication systems, medications, procedures, basic laboratory and x-ray facilities, and health and contingency planning. Each of our ships has a well stocked formulary of medications, including thrombolytics (clot busters), based upon categories of pharmaceuticals established by ACEP as appropriate for the shipboard environment.
We recruit doctors and nurses from around the world who meet these stringent standards, and we also strive to stay at the cutting edge of medical technology where appropriate in consideration of the limited nature of the shipboard environment at sea. Recent examples include phasing in the newest in digital X-ray technology, as well as a TeleDermatology program – both of which provide the availability of remote consultation by experts ashore when necessary.
We are currently exploring options for implementing a fully electronic medical records system for the benefit of our guests and crew. We recently deployed upgraded First Responder bags, which I am proud to say proved instrumental in saving the lives of at least six patients in recent months. We have trained our staff to have the ability to perform life saving blood transfusions at sea when necessary, as well as air evacuations, which is good since we have had several recently. Although the vast majority of our guests never need to visit the ship’s medical facility, it is very reassuring to know that a team of trained medical professionals is sailing right along with you – only a phone call away.