Cruise Law News : Maritime Lawyer & Attorney : James M. Walker : Walker & O’Neill Law Firm : Admiralty Law, Cruise Ship Accidents & Injuries

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The United States Coast Guard crews medevaced an ill thirteen year old from the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Jewel cruise ship near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on Saturday. 

The boy had symptoms of acute appendicitis.  The Coast Guard lifted the boy and his mother from the deck of the Jewel and flew them to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

This is the type of story which we have reported on frequently.  Medical rescues like this are a regular occurrence when there is a medical emergency and the cruise ships are within the range of Coast Guard helicopters.  As I have said many times, a cruise ship is one of the last places on earth you want to be if you have a serious medical issue. 

One of the most infamous involving appendicitis aboard a cruise ship is Carnival v. Carlyle.  A family from Michigan sailed on Carnival’s Ecstasy when 14 year old Elizabeth felt ill with abdominal pain.  The family took their daughter to the ship infirmary.  The  foreign trained doctor repeatedly told the family that the child had only the flu.  When the family returned home, a qualified doctor diagnosed a ruptured appendix and infection, but due to the delayed diagnosis and treatment the young girl was rendered sterile.

Carnival defended the case by claiming that it was not responsible for the malpractice of "independent contractors."  The cruise line and the cruise industry fought the case for a decade and finally won before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The bottom line?  The family went on a family cruise vacation and their daughter returned home sterile due to the gross negligence of the Carnival ship doctor.  After ten years of litigation, the young girl received nothing.    

So when I see a helicopters picking up a sick kid off of a cruise ship, I know that one parent’s prayers have been answered.  They will not have to suffer like the Carlyle family from Michigan.

So, thanks to the the U.S. Coast Guard!

The medevac was filmed by a passenger, Allan, aboard the Jewel:



Credit:   CNN iReport

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