A Princess Cruises ship, the Emerald Princess, had a passenger medevac’d from the ship on October 14.
The airlift took place early in the morning after medical personnel on the ship identified the older, male passenger as having symptoms of possible stroke. A Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter crew from the Kaneohe Bay-based Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 rushed to the ship, retrieved the passenger and returned him to the Queen’s Medical Center.
The Emerald Princess was 180 miles offshore of Hawaii at the time. The long range patrol provided by the Coast Guard often allows cruise lines to have additional medical transport if they have a passenger who requires more medical care than can be provided onboard the ship.
According to a Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) press release, “At 9 a.m., JRCC Honolulu watchstanders received a call from the master of the cruise ship Emerald Princess stating the passenger was suffering from symptoms of a stroke. A duty flight surgeon was consulted, concurred with the diagnosis and recommended a medevac to a higher level of care. The Emerald Princess diverted toward Hawaii to close the distance and come within range of hoist capable aircraft. Watchstanders worked with Customs and Border Protection to ensure clearance for the foreign passenger to be received in Hawaii.”
When possible, passengers exhibiting stroke symptoms can be airlifted from cruise ships. Stroke victims have a limited amount of time after a stroke when advanced medical support should be provided. Its best when cruise ship personnel are able to identify a life-threatening situation and make the appropriate calls to Coast Guard authorities.