New Inflight Medical Manual Boosts Care In The Air

London, Tuesday, November 27: Passenger well being in the air has received a major boost with the launch by British Airways, MedAire and Dorling Kindersley of a new onboard medical care manual, set to establish new industry standards of inflight healthcare.

British Airways’ new Manual of Inflight Medical Care, replaces the old1995 manual and is the first and only full colour guide to in-flight medical care. It has taken over four years of planning to produce and is already attracting interest from several other airlines in the UK and abroad.

As well as being distributed to all the airline’s cabin crew, the manual will also be placed onboard every British Airways aircraft.

The 140-page, fully illustrated manual aims to provide cabin crew with the most comprehensive guide yet to inflight medical care. Areas covered include basic anatomy and physiology, aviation medicine, first aid for inflight emergencies, resuscitation procedures, use of on-board medical kits and obtaining medical assistance. Based on tried and tested teaching methods, the manual will form the basis for in-flight training programmes.

The loose-leaf format means that the manual can be regularly updated and readily be customised for use by other commercial or private operators.


All medical information has been written by aviation health experts from within British Airways’ Health Services and Aviation Medical Training departments and from MedAire. The information has then been reviewed by internal and external experts in both the UK and USA.

Dr Nigel Dowdall, Senior Consultant Occupational Physician at British Airways Health Services, is one of the aviation health experts who has contributed to the new manual. He is delighted with the final results: ‘Working with MedAire and Dorling Kindersley, we set out to produce something which would be practical and easy-to-use. With this new manual I think we have done just that. Together with our medical kit and cabin crew training, we can now boast a standard of inflight medical care which is second to none.’

Mary Chittendon, from the airline’s Aviation Medical Training department, believes the new manual will be the foundation for cabin crew training programme. ‘The manual and the training which accompanies it helps define the level of medical care that passengers should be able to expect whilst in the air’ , she said.

The first of BA’s 14,000 cabin crew have already started to receive the new manual. The response so far has been extremely positive, says Joy Hordern, General Manager of Cabin Services: ‘We’re committed to giving our cabin crew the tools and the training to do their job well. With the new manual, they undoubtedly have the most up to date medical information available, equipping them to deal with just about every type of medical situation they may encounter.’

The new manual will help strengthen and complement the existing telemedicine service used by BA. Ground-to-air medical support is provided to all BA aircraft by Phoenix-based MedAire, through its MedLink telemedicine service. MedAire has more than 15 years’ experience in providing medical training to flight and cabin crew in corporate and commercial aviation.

‘There is a world of difference between providing first aid on the ground and trying to manage a medical situation at 30,000 feet,’ added Joan Sullivan Garrett, President & CEO of MedAire. ‘This book represents a major milestone by putting management information and instruction into a useful context for flight and cabin crew.’

Dorling Kindersley has 25 years experience of producing medical publications. The publisher has applied its editorial expertise and design to create a manual that is practical, user-friendly and relevant to the aircraft environment.