Stephen M. O'Brien III, PLLC - Personal Injury Attorneys
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Changes coming for medical negligence in the cruise industry

Many people choose to take a cruise as a way to relax and unwind. Those people likely don’t get on the cruise ship thinking that they want to get sick while they are underway. Still, cruise ships have medical facilities that can treat a host of ailments. From simple sea sickness to heart attacks, these medical facilities on board are the only option a passenger has while he or she is aboard a ship that is underway.

Historically, passengers had to just take it as it comes with health care aboard ships. When doctors were treating these passengers, either in port or while underway, the passenger generally couldn’t hold the cruise ship’s medical staff liable for damages. That is, if a passenger was a victim of medical malpractice on a cruise ship, he or she had little to no recourse.

A recent ruling by an appellate court seems to be changing that long-held immunity from legal liability. The ruling by the court essentially negates maritime laws that have offered that protection.

In the case that is making waves in the cruise industry, a woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the death of her father. He fell while at a port-of-call while on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines voyage. He sought treatment, but that treatment was so poor that he lapsed into a coma. A week later, he died. The lawsuit asserts that the medical staff failed to properly diagnose his head injury.

Our Kentucky readers who have had to use medical calls aboard ships and those who are planning on going on a cruise should keep this case in mind. Simply because you chose to relax on a cruise ship doesn’t mean that the cruise ship medical staff is allowed to provide you with negligent care. You do have the right to seek compensation if you are a victim of medical malpractice or negligence on a cruise ship.

Source: Huffington Post, “Suing Cruise Ship Doctors for Medical Malpractice” Spencer Aronfeld, Nov. 25, 2014

O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC is located in Lexington, KY and serves clients in and around Lexington, Keene, Nicholasville, Versailles, Midway, Georgetown, Wilmore, Paris, Bourbon County, Fayette County, Jessamine County, Scott County and Woodford County.

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