The vast majority of doctors who have flown on airplanes have heard this, and most of us are willing, if not entirely eager, to respond. What follows is usually a far from ideal encounter with inadequate information, too much noise, a cramped space to work in and little knowledge of what is expected or even possible.
My experiences (I think there have been 3) were people who had become dizzy or had passed out. One of them was pretty frail, but none required that we land before our destination airport. What I learned was that:
1. More than one physician usually responds to these calls. As a general internist, I'm usually the most appropriate person to evaluate the patient (winning out over ophthalmologists, dermatologists and obstetricians.)
2. The flight attendants are very grateful, bring me an extra glass of juice and promise some kind of compensation from the airline which may or may not materializ…