What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 31 Old 07-22-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

I confess I like Andre's thoughts on the matter but it is important to know whether the emergency is coastal off a coast that is well supplied with emergency services or well out of reach of the various coast guards. A couple of miles off San Francisco or Sydney is not comparable with the middle of the Indian Ocean.

(I knew not about PAN PAN MEDICO btw)

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post #22 of 31 Old 07-23-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post

I have called in a Pan Pan 600nm from New Zealand where there is very highly developed SAR and whilst they talked to me comfortingly on a satphone and promised to “keep an eye on me”, other than maybe directing the nearest commercial shipping to us, there was nothing further they could/would do. If it had been a Medico condition, they would have immediately provided expert medical assistance on the phone.
What was the nature of your emergency?

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post #23 of 31 Old 07-23-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
If you're out of immediate physical assistance range then the correct call for such an event is a Pan Pan Medico which tells the receivers of your message that you require medical support over the radio. They then get a doctor to assist you with diagnosis/remedy as best he can to save the patient's life if that is in fact possible.

If you are within immediate reach of physical help and it is clear that the person is likely to die as a result of his/her condition then a Mayday would be appropriate.
Thanks for posting that Omatako. I'm sure there are many of us who were not aware of that option and the possible implications of using mayday vs pan medico in certain areas of the world.

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post #24 of 31 Old 07-23-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

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(I knew not about PAN PAN MEDICO btw)
Probably because it is no longer in official use, and hasn't been for awhile....

That's not to say the call would be ignored though, it's just that if the first person to hear it was one of the younger crew they would probably reply with "come again"

If we received a Pan-Pan Medico and the subject was in a life-threatening situation (no matter your whereabouts) it would be reclassified and treated as a Mayday, which is precisely what it is....

Just to add a little weight to my statement, I am a ships master currently sitting in my cabin one floor above the ships 4 bed hospital, we can be in touch with shore side medical assistance at the push of a button from anywhere, the vessel is also SAR approved and the crew are trained as such.....though SAR is not it's primary role....
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post #25 of 31 Old 07-23-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

Having been part a medevac 1040 miles north of Honolulu, I was attest that the satphone was our means to getting help. We had the Vic Maui race communications book that had the phone number for CG Honolulu. The flight surgeon recommended a medevac which the CG and AMVER coordinated.

VHF and SSB calls were to no effect.

Pan Pan Medico is not taught in Canadian VHF courses.

BTW - loss of consciousness is a Mayday.

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post #26 of 31 Old 07-23-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

In another. coastal, situation we called 911 and had an ambulance meet us at the dock in Ganges after a crew member had two grand mal severe seizures. We were an hour away.

Had it been more remote, it would have been a Mayday.

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post #27 of 31 Old 07-23-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

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What was the nature of your emergency?
We were in a squash zone (weather system) with 30 - 40ft breaking waves and 75kn gusting 85 and whilst we were not "in grave and imminent danger" (the requirement for a Mayday) we wanted someone to know where we were and what was happening to us in case we got rolled and lost our rig and possibly all comms.

So we put out a Pan Pan on HF radio.

As it happens, Maritime NZ treated it as an emergency.


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post #28 of 31 Old 07-23-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

"BTW - loss of consciousness is a Mayday. "
Doesn't that depend on whether you broke the 2x4 you hit 'em with?

Let me see...small boat, scorching hot wx, usually that means flat-ish seas...now where could you find a large source of coolant to immerse the victim in? I wonder where....
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post #29 of 31 Old 07-24-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
We were in a squash zone (weather system) with 30 - 40ft breaking waves and 75kn gusting 85 and whilst we were not "in grave and imminent danger" (the requirement for a Mayday) we wanted someone to know where we were and what was happening to us in case we got rolled and lost our rig and possibly all comms.

So we put out a Pan Pan on HF radio.

As it happens, Maritime NZ treated it as an emergency.
I would have put out a "securite" call (from UK protocol, years a go).
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post #30 of 31 Old 07-24-2013
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Re: What is the proper VHF protocol for a dire medical emergency?

A USCG officer taught the segment on distress calls and response in the Safety at Sea seminar.

First, MayDay is what they expect to hear when life is at risk. Second, they want you to call right away, don't wait. Do not concern yourself that you scrambled a bunch of helos and boats that you learn you don't need. That's not the way it works. They will assess the situation, get medical advice and/or radio support to you, before they send assets. They want to hear from you early, so they have time to sort it out, not when you say your passenger has been lying unconscious for 4 hours and you just lost their pulse.

(as an aside, I feel compelled to respond to the suggestion above that one begins CPR immediately for an unresponsive victim. You only begin rescue breathing, if the victim is not properly ventilating themselves. Then, you only continue with chest compressions, if you are unable to identify a carotid artery pulse. Immediately applying chest compressions to an unconscious victim that has a normal heart rhythm could cause cardiac distress)


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