New SeaHelp cooperation partner: Kirt-Steiermark helps with medical emergencies and problems on board

A subject one would love to repress: What happens if there's a medical emergency on board? The nearest doctor usually practices half an eternity away, and the boat would have to call at a port first. An undertaking that is not always easy in the hectic situation on board, especially if the emergency concerns the skipper of all people.

SeaHelp has recognized the problem, not least due to the operational experience of recent years, and has found a cooperation partner in the Austrian association “Patient and intensive care transport Steiermark“, which addresses this problem and independently offers medical services in the Adriatic region to support SeaHelp members in small and large emergencies on board.

However, since all beginnings are difficult, SeaHelp and K.I.R.T. (so the abbreviation) have agreed to complete the first year, the 2019 season, as a so-called beta phase exclusively for SeaHelp members, in order to be able to provide binding assurances of necessary services from 2020, possibly after the successful completion of this first phase of the product launch and the knowledge gained from it.

Dr. Astrid Preininger and SeaHelp boss Wolfgang Dauser in conversation
Dr. Astrid Preininger, responsible for the medical management and SeaHelp boss Wolfgang Dauser agree on final details of the cooperation.

For this purpose the cooperation partner maintains a 24-hour hotline exclusively for SeaHelp members. Priority is given to telephone and, if possible, video-based consultation with a competent medical doctor or paramedic to bridge the time needed to transport patients from ship to shore, where they are handed over to the local rescue services. As is well known, the behaviour of potential helpers in the first few minutes after a medical incident is decisive for the further course of the illness.

The medical side of the operation will be completely independent of SeaHelp’s usual services, i.e. the actions initiated by SeaHelp will continue as usual, but in parallel, from the time of the call there will be the possibility of contacting an emergency paramedic or doctor who will provide active support to those on board during the first aid measures until these are handed over to the local medical staff.

Based on the fact that for certain medical indications, both the time factor and proper first aid play a significant role, SeaHelp believes that the support of trained professionals in such situations gives the helpers on board greater confidence that they are doing the right thing. The service is not and can never replace the doctor on site, but only helps to make good use of the time until the local emergency services arrive.

But not only in emergencies, also with the small, but often unpleasant incidents on board the co-operation partner Kirt stands with advice and act to the side: If a crew member forgot important medicine, a private prescription can be issued when desired and be faxed and/or enamelled directly to a pharmacy co-operating with the association, so it lies there ready for the collection of the medicines. In addition, the association can also draw on a network of doctors in private practice along the Croatian coast, who are specialised in the corresponding symptoms of the disease and can treat patients efficiently in their own language. In short, for all medical problems on board, a call to the SeaHelp hotline can bring the skippers a step closer to solving these medical problems.

But the Kirt can do even more: It supports members during a possible hospital stay in Croatia up to a professional return transport in a patient transport vehicle of the newest generation, which is even equipped for intensive care patients. Chargeable services, which go beyond the free emergency service (exclusively for all SeaHelp members), will of course be communicated by the association as such before use.

Equipment ambulance Kirt Stiermark
Better equipped than many a doctor’s practice: The vehicle of the association für Kranken- und Intensivtransporte Steiermark (Association for Patient and Intensive Care Transport Styria), which is even approved for intensive care transports, with which optional transports to the home country can be carried out (for a fee).

Our cooperation partner: The association for ambulance and intensive care transports in Styria (die Kirt) has made it its business to provide high-quality care for sick and injured persons by ambulance and to transport them throughout Europe. It is also possible to carry out intensive care transports at home and abroad, with or without previous care. It has a pool of intensive care physicians, emergency doctors and paramedics trained according to Austrian standards who support the team. Patients are cared for and monitored during transport in accordance with appropriate quality standards. For SeaHelp members, the association has set up a 24-hour on-call service to support the onboard first-aid measures in emergencies or to provide medical support for less urgent assistance, such as a prescription service or referral to a German-speaking doctor in the respective field in Croatia. homepage: www.kirt-st.at.

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