Funkärztliche Beratung (Medico) Cuxhaven
Helios Klinik Cuxhaven
Altenwalder Chaussee 10
27474 Cuxhaven

Phone: +49 4721 785
Fax: +49 4721 78 39 15

Case studies

Practical advice gained from practical experiences

Every day around the clock medical advice, information and instructions can be gathered from the telemedical maritime assistance service. Physicians who are not nly trained in varied medical fields but who also have maritime experience ensure competent advice. Every year there are over 1,200 contacts. Also in the following cases, the care of seafarers on board was ensured with the help of the telemedical maritime assistance service:

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Case study 1: bone fracture vs. change of course

On the way from West to East to BIlbao across the Northern Atlantic a 25 year old cadet sustained a complete forearm fracture on the right. The shipowner got in contact with the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) Halifax and was requested to change course to Halifax. Since the ship was run up against heavy seas on the course, the heavy impacts caused the injured enormous pain.

Medico Cuxhaven was contacted and asked for a suitable pain therapy. An in-depth consultation regarding the injury revealed that the blood circulation through the hand was unobstructed, nerve damage could be ruled out and that the fracture was visually properly repositioned. Since there was no acute danger for the right arm and therefore no time pressure for the ultimate treatment, we adviced aside from a pain therapy to resume on the original course and to have the patient be treated in Ponta Delgada on the Azores which would only cause a minor deviation.

The ship was sailing with the seas and was therefore more steady. This also led to the patient being pain-free even without medicinal pain therapy. After the transfer of the patient on the Azores, the ship was able to resume its voyage without any significant delay. The patient could be treated without any consequential damages and was flown to his ship in Bilbao.

This way both the medical needs of the patient as well as the justified economic concerns of the shipping company were both equally sufficiently taken into account.

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Case study 2: Chronic wound rather than an "injury wound"

A container ship on the English Channel on its way across the Atlantic to the USA sent a digital photograph of a supposed "injury wound" of a crew member to Medico Cuxhaven. The master was specifically asking for the assistance with the adequate wound care with suitable dressing for the described wound on the lower leg of a 40 year old Kiribati.

Upon request further pictures of both fully undressed extremities were sent.

This resulted in the discovery of a chronic system illness with ulcerating abscesses, varicose dermatitis and oedemas of both legs.

With a deviation of approximately 2 hours, the patient was treated suitably and as a result dissuaded from an onward 5 day journey across the Atlantic.

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