A financially detrimental environment will be created for airlines if passengers with medical problems in flight, which may be related to pre-existing conditions, win lawsuits against them.

Airlines have a duty of care towards their passengers, but the popular view of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is mistaken. It has no connection with flying as such and may be the consequence of conditions such as a history of thrombotic disorder, obesity, immobility and malignancy.

I always understood that if a qualified medical practitioner or first-aider (including trained airline staff) offered voluntary assistance within his or her knowledge and competence in a medical emergency, then no liability could ensue: what would be the alternative?

The effects of attaching legal medical liability to airlines for matters outside their reasonable control would be a huge rise in insurance premiums and possible further bankruptcies which would be disastrous for an industry in deep recession.

Steven Stott Thornton Heath, Surrey, UK

Source: Flight International