While visiting the doctor aboard a cruise ship may be the last thing that a vacationer wants to do, it is comforting to know that most cruise ships have doctors and medical facilities available. Cruise doctors have to have the same kind of training that your regular doctor would have had, including the requisite degrees from an accredited medical school. In addition, the doctor must have real-world experience and credentials, so it is unlikely that the ship doctor is an intern. However, medical mistakes are made, and the cruise lines are likely the ones who will pay. Newsweek reports on a man who was awarded $4.6 million for a medical mistake made by a cruise doctor.
Ilijia Locar, 34, was a Serbian waiter aboard the Norwegian Breakaway when he went to visit the shipboard doctor for flu-like symptoms.
The doctor that he saw was Sebastian Campuzano, who was described as inexperienced and had only been working for the cruise line for a few months.
The physician prescribed Locar the antihistamine promethazine and injected a large amount into Locar’s arm over a short period of time.
Locar immediately reported a burning sensation in his arm. Despite Locar’s complaint, Campuzano continued the treatment.
Within hours, gangrene set into the arm and tissue began to die, causing the arm to turn black and blue.
Locar’s attorney argued that his client was not only given the wrong medication, that the medication was given in the wrong method.
Norwegian failed to call for an emergency airlift for Locar, forcing him to wait 20 hours until the ship docked in Florida to get treatment.
By then, it was too late to save the arm.
Norwegian was ordered to pay Locar $4.6 million for mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of future earning capacity, scarring and disfigurement, and other reasons.
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