open access

Vol 57, No 1-4 (2006)
ORAL HEALTH AT SEA
Submitted: 2013-02-18
Published online: 2010-03-26
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Crew referrals to dentists and medical specialists ashore: a descriptive study of practice on three passenger vessels during one year

Eilif Dahl
International Maritime Health 2006;57(1-4):127-135.

open access

Vol 57, No 1-4 (2006)
ORAL HEALTH AT SEA
Submitted: 2013-02-18
Published online: 2010-03-26

Abstract

Study objective - To study crew referrals to out-patient port services from 3 passenger ships during 12 months (2004), with focus on dentist appointments. The median number of crew on Ship A was 561, on Ship B 534 and on Ship C 614.
Methods - Crew referrals were registered continuously and after each cruise segment recorded in the ship’s doctor’s medical cruise report, from which the data were retrieved and reviewed.
Results - During 2004 the doctors of the 3 sister ships had a total of 8888 crew consultations (Table 1). Mean number of doctor consultations for crew was 17.5 a day. On Ship A 50%, on B 59% and on C 70% of the port referrals were dentist appointments. A crew member was referred to a dentist every 7 (Ship C) to 10 days (Ships A + B). Among the specified dental referrals, 18% were extraction requests.
Conclusions - The ship’s doctors had a busy crew practice, but were neither trained nor equipped to do elective dentistry aboard. Crew referral rate to services ashore was low, but 50-70% of the referrals for out-patient port services concerned dentistry. Inadequate health insurance caused low-wage crew to request free extractions instead of expensive repair in high-cost ports. As dentistry in local ports is a poor substitute for the person’s own dentist, doctors performing seafarer examinations should ensure that dental problems are solved before sign-on.

Abstract

Study objective - To study crew referrals to out-patient port services from 3 passenger ships during 12 months (2004), with focus on dentist appointments. The median number of crew on Ship A was 561, on Ship B 534 and on Ship C 614.
Methods - Crew referrals were registered continuously and after each cruise segment recorded in the ship’s doctor’s medical cruise report, from which the data were retrieved and reviewed.
Results - During 2004 the doctors of the 3 sister ships had a total of 8888 crew consultations (Table 1). Mean number of doctor consultations for crew was 17.5 a day. On Ship A 50%, on B 59% and on C 70% of the port referrals were dentist appointments. A crew member was referred to a dentist every 7 (Ship C) to 10 days (Ships A + B). Among the specified dental referrals, 18% were extraction requests.
Conclusions - The ship’s doctors had a busy crew practice, but were neither trained nor equipped to do elective dentistry aboard. Crew referral rate to services ashore was low, but 50-70% of the referrals for out-patient port services concerned dentistry. Inadequate health insurance caused low-wage crew to request free extractions instead of expensive repair in high-cost ports. As dentistry in local ports is a poor substitute for the person’s own dentist, doctors performing seafarer examinations should ensure that dental problems are solved before sign-on.
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About this article
Title

Crew referrals to dentists and medical specialists ashore: a descriptive study of practice on three passenger vessels during one year

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 57, No 1-4 (2006)

Pages

127-135

Published online

2010-03-26

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2006;57(1-4):127-135.

Authors

Eilif Dahl

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