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‘You are your own best friend in air’

With airlines’ limited aid capacity in emergencies, doctors urge travellers to be careful, reports Sumitra Deb Roy.

entertainment Updated: Apr 12, 2007 02:27 IST

The spate of recent deaths on long-haul flights, most caused by deep vein thrombosis, has prompted the city’s medical fraternity to deliberate on ways to tackle the problem.

On Wednesday, doctors from private hospitals and airlines who met at Holy Family Hospital in Bandra unanimously agreed that fliers with prior health complications should be extra cautious as airlines have limitations on "providing emergency medical aid".

There is a physician’s kit on board to be used by doctors and first-aid kits, which the crew are trained to use. But, during an emergency there is no option but to wait for the plane to reach its destination, they said.

"Even if Air India or Indian agree to divert the flight and do an emergency landing, commercial airlines would not do so as it is very expensive," said Dr Lata Nakhwa, Head Medical Services Department, Air India.