A cruise ship emergency medical evacuation triggered by handheld ultrasound findings and directed by tele-ultrasound
International Maritime Health
Cruise ship medical evacuation; Ectopic pregnancy; Point-of-care ultrasound; Tele-ultrasound
© 2020 PSMTTM. Cruise ships travel far from shoreside medical care and present a unique austere medical environment. For the cruise ship physician, decisions regarding emergency medical evacuation can be challenging. In the event that a passenger or crew member becomes seriously ill or is injured, the use of point-of-care ultrasound may assist in clarifying the diagnosis and stratifying the risk of a delayed care, and at times expedite an emergent medical evacuation. In this report we present the first case reported in the literature of an emergency medical evacuation from a cruise ship triggered by handheld ultrasound. A point-of-care ultrasound performed by a trained cruise ship physician, reviewed by a remote telemedical consultant with experience in point-of-care ultrasound, identified an ectopic pregnancy with intraabdominal free fluid in a young female patient with abdominal pain and expedited emergent helicopter evacuation from a cruise ship to a shoreside facility, where she immediately underwent successful surgery. The case highlights a medical evacuation that was accurately triggered by utilising a handheld ultrasound and successfully directed via a tele-ultrasound consultation. American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) health care guidelines for cruise ship medical facilities should be updated to include guidelines for point-of-care ultrasound, including training and telemedical support.
Boniface, K., Sikka, N., Page, N., Peretz, A., & Shokoohi, H. (2020). A cruise ship emergency medical evacuation triggered by handheld ultrasound findings and directed by tele-ultrasound. International Maritime Health, 71 (1). http://dx.doi.org/10.5603/IMH.2020.0010