Project Management

Crisis Management in Healthcare (Part 2): Mid-Air Medical Emergency

PMI Pearl City, Hyderabad Chapter

Dr. Deepa Bhide, PMP is a physician and currently an independent healthcare IT and project management consultant. She has a postgraduate degree in Pediatrics and Neonatology from the University of Health Sciences, India. Deepa is an advocate of using project management in healthcare and related domains. She has worked extensively in the confluence of clinical medicine, IT and project management domains with hands-on experience in managing projects from conception to closure.

This is the second installment in the Crisis Management in Healthcare series. You can read Part 1: From Food Poisoning to Community Kitchen Project here.

Managing in-flight medical emergencies (IMEs) is a complex project management task that requires quick decision-making and impromptu risk assessment. This article recounts a real-life experience of managing dual medical emergencies on a flight and highlights the importance of a robust IME management protocol.

It also emphasizes the need for medical professionals to be prepared to handle the challenges of managing IMEs with scarce resources, language barriers, and regulations at different airports. The experience underscores the need to approach IMEs as project management challenges that require careful planning, risk assessment, and communication. I’ll also discuss how artificial intelligence can significantly benefit the management of in-flight medical emergencies.

The Incident
Two fellow passengers caught my attention as we boarded a flight to Mumbai from Paris in 2005. One of them was a thin, pale, middle-aged lady sitting in a wheelchair; and the other was an elderly gentleman who was short of breath as he tried to stow his luggage in the overhead compartment but soon was assisted by the flight crew.

An hour after takeoff, we woke up to the anxious calls of the flight crew seeking help to …


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