Medical evacuation from cruise ship 100 miles from shore

  • On Friday, the Coast Guard rescued a man with stroke symptoms from the Celebrity Eclipse.
  • The 2,000+ passenger cruise ship was more than 100 miles off the Oregon coast.
  • A video of the evacuation provides insight into what happens during a medical crisis at sea.

The US Coast Guard rescued a man with stroke symptoms aboard the Celebrity Eclipse on Friday during a emergency evacuation which was captured on video.

The more than 2,000-passenger cruise ship was more than 100 miles off the Oregon coast when the Coast Guard helicopter arrived, the Coast Guard said. As they hovered above the ship, the crew lowered a stretcher to the helipad as a crowd of passengers watched from the balcony above.

The man was then airlifted to the nearby town of Warrenton, where he was then transferred to a Life Flight helicopter and taken to OHSU Hospital in Portland, the Coast Guard said in a statement. Tweeter on Sunday.

While medical emergencies may be the last thing cruise passengers want to consider when planning their vacation, the video offers insight into the emergency rescue procedures followed during life-threatening or life-threatening emergencies at sea.

The US Coast Guard and Celebrity Cruises did not respond to insider requests for additional details on medical evacuation procedures.

So far this year, the US Coast Guard has medically evacuated more than a dozen cruise ship passengers by helicopter, according to USCG news releases. In April, the San Diego crew rescued four separate passengers from three different cruise ships in just 24 hours, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Reasons given for recent medical evacuations from cruise ships include symptoms of strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, acute progressive illness, respiratory failure, pneumonia and septic shock.

Rescue missions don’t always go smoothly. Earlier this month, a Coast Guard helicopter nearly crashed into the ocean while medically evacuating a 76-year-old passenger who had symptoms resembling a heart attack aboard the cruise ship Carnival Dream.

What types of medical facilities are available on cruise ships?

An ambulance takes a patient from the Coral Princess cruise ship to the hospital while the ship is docked in the Port of Miami, Florida

An ambulance takes a patient from the Coral Princess cruise ship to hospital while the ship is docked in the Port of Miami, Florida.


Cruise ships operating in the United States must adhere to medical guidelines set by the American College of Emergency Physicians, which include rules regarding the qualifications, experience levels, certifications, and competencies of physicians and clinical staff at edge.

For example, doctors employed by the cruise ship must have “competent skill levels” in emergency cardiovascular care as well as minor surgical skills, and at least one doctor must be certified in advanced trauma life support. All cruise ship clinical staff, including nurses, must have at least three years of postgraduate experience.

If you receive medical treatment on a cruise ship, you may foot the bill – most regular health insurance policies do not cover cruise ship medical services. However, some health insurance plans may cover costs if you receive medically necessary treatment within six hours of a US port. Otherwise, your best bet is to purchase cruise insurance.

When a passenger requires treatment beyond the capabilities of the ship’s medical center, they will either be evacuated by air or transferred once the ship reaches the nearest port. How cruise passengers are transported off the ship depends “on weather, location and available resources,” Dr. Joe Scott, senior director of fleet medical operations at Carnival Corporation, told USA Today.

Do you work on a cruise ship? Do you have a story or advice to share? Email this reporter from a non-business address to


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