Suzanne Stannard: “An illness or injury that may be ‘minor’ on shore may become an emergency on board”
21st of August 2018
Course leader presentation: Suzanne Stannard
Managing Medical Emergencies at Sea: Risks and responses, 30th of October – 1st of November, 2018, Hotel Marienlyst, Helsingør (Elsinore), Denmark
1. What is your background? A short presentation of yourself.
Since 2014 I have been working as a Medical adviser in the Norwegian Centre of Maritime and Diving Medicine (NSMDM). This role is largely project and research based and I am also involved with the planning and delivery of many of the courses offered by the Department.
My clinical background is in Acute Medicine, Paediatrics and Anaesthetics and Intensive Care with a special interest in Paediatric Intensive Care. I also worked on board cruise ships for P&O Princess and served on a number of ships, large and small in many areas of the world. Here we were responsible for the primary health care and the emergency care of all passengers and crew on board.
I left clinical medicine to pursue a career in medical assistance and repatriation medicine and I worked for International SOS at the London Alarm Centre for four years, three of which as Medical Director with direct responsibility for the medical assistance, evacuation and repatriation cases. This gave me a wealth of experience in the delivery of medical care overseas, in remote locations and the transportation of sick and injured people from all sorts of locations, on land and at sea.
In 2010 I returned to the cruise industry when I was appointed as the first Medical Director of Carnival UK Cruises (Cunard, P&O and Carnival Australia).
- Why do you think that medical emergencies at sea is an important and current issue to discuss in 2018?
Medical emergencies, whether illness or injury, occur at sea on an almost daily basis. Figures from Telemedical Assistance Services (TMAS) consistently show an increase in the number of cases they handle year on year and a significant number of these go on to need medical evacuation from the vessel as they are too serious to be managed on board. An illness or injury that may be ‘minor’ on shore may become an emergency on board due to the limited medical training of ship’s officers and the limited equipment and medication that are available on board a vessel. Equally serious illness or injury can occur unexpectedly at any time. All such events have significant impact on and cost to the seafarer themselves, colleagues on board, the ship owner and the insurance companies. Previous workshops have looked in detail at the training, equipment and use of TMAS but in Elsinore we shall look further afield and focus on approaches to risk assessment and mitigation of both the event and its consequences – prevention is often better than cure!
- Your greetings to the participants of the course.
It is my pleasure to lead this three day course on Managing Medical Emergencies at Sea: Risks and Responses. This is an area I feel strongly about – as a seafarer and later shore side medical director of a large cruise organization and also being married to a seafarer of 14 years’ experience and now a shore side manager of a large shipping company. I have seen from both a personal and professional viewpoint the impact of a medical emergency on so many levels. Risk assessment and operational planning can reduce the likelihood and impact of such an event. We have assembled a well informed and experienced faculty but hope that you as participants will share your knowledge and expertise too so we can all leave better equipped to optimize procedures and ultimately improved the working conditions of the seafarers. Welcome to Elsinore!