Yes, There’s Probably a Doctor on Your Plane

It is now (fairly) safe to have a medical emergency on board

October 11, 2017 9:00 am

Flying is stressful.

Mostly because there’s no knowing what’ll happen between takeoff and landing.

Sure, it’ll probably just be six hours of sitting impatiently through second-run movies, cursing the full lean-back dude in front of you, and praying the lady taking off her shoes and socks practices solid foot hygiene. But there could be a terrible accident or medical emergency, and that is enough to keep us on guard.

The good news? There’s probably a doctor on board.

Here are some reassuring stats: a 2014 survey by the New England Journal of Medicine found that mid-flight medical emergencies are pretty rare, occurring in only one of every 604 flights. According to a different study — this one by Gatwick — doctors are on board 11 out of overy 12 flights. Those are pretty good odds!

In fact, they’re better than those for members of several other occupations, including financial professionals (44 percent), members of the media (38 percent), engineers (32 percent) and scientists (20 percent).

As long as we’re not sitting next to a professional Instagram influencer (now reported on literally 100 percent of flights), we’re good. 


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