USA Today recently published an article about the cruise industry titled: Have fun, but don’t get sick! How cruise ship passengers should prepare for illness or injury
It’s certainly a catchy title and will likely draw some curious readers.
The reality of course is that the vast majority of the 25 million people who board a cruise ship each year will have an enjoyable time. They’ll lay in the sun, visit new places and have fun spending time with their friends and family.
They won’t give much thought to possible sickness from norovirus, taking a tumble down a flight of stairs or one of the hundreds of potential mishap scenarios that might occur. As personal injury attorneys who work almost entirely representing seriously injured passengers, we can attest to the fact that there a myriad of ways passengers have been hurt while on a cruise vacation.
Cruise vacations can be dangerous:
It’s human nature to live your life with a subconscious understanding that danger does exist – for example: you drive but know you may be involved in a collision or you play sports but realize you may pull a hamstring. Ever present danger, however minimal, is a part of life.
It’s no different on a cruise ship. The likelihood of sustaining an injury, much less a serious injury that may have been the result of negligent actions by the crew or cruise line, is truly remote.
So an article from USA Today that points out ‘how to stay safe on a cruise ship’ is not likely to make much of an impact on the habits of cruise passengers. They’ll climb aboard and go have fun.
Poor treatment and medical negligence are more common than most passengers would believe.
Yet – the article does make some very valid points, including:
>> Doctors on cruise ships aren’t usually specialists
>> Some onboard doctors are not fluent in English
>> Few passengers know how their health insurance works at sea
>> Being sent off the ship for medical care isn’t always a good thing
And certainly, these are all true comments – and ones most passengers wouldn’t likely think about.
The cruise ships are not fully capable of dealing with serious medical issues. It’s why cruise ships will (though not always) act quickly to remove a passenger from the ship (often with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard) if the passenger’s medical condition proves to be too complicated for the ship’s medical staff to provide treatment. Or they may remove a passenger to a local hospital in the Caribbean, Mexico or Central America.
Additionally, the cruise lines have all been liable for medical negligence claims – occurrences of misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, failure to act and other examples of poor treatment are more common that most passengers would ever believe. They’ve all faced medical negligence lawsuits and have been sued for and paid out millions in settlements and verdicts.
In fact, our firm was instrumental in getting U.S. Federal Courts to recognize the liability of the cruise line industry in relation to medical negligence. This has led to significant recoveries by passengers who suffered at the hands of cruise line doctors and medical staff.
Don’t let questions of medical mistreatment or doctor’s mistakes go unheard
We urge any injured passenger, wherever they are in the world, to speak to an attorney if they have concerns about the way they were treated by the medical staff of a cruise ship. Experienced attorneys will be able to provide answers to your questions and provide the proper guidance that may be needed.