Vol 68, No 4 (2017)
Published online: 2017-12-22

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Debriefing of the medical team after emergencies on cruise ships

Eilif Dahl1
Pubmed: 29297567
IMH 2017;68(4):183-186.


Done to improve safety and patient outcome but not to lay blame, debriefings on cruise ships should preferably be conducted as standard practice in the medical facility immediately after all critical events aboard. The key questions to be asked are: What went well, what could have gone better and what must participants do to improve care? Post-debriefing the ship’s doctor might have to deal with team members’ mental stress resulting both from the event and from debriefing it. Required by most cruise companies, standardised advanced life support courses teach effective high-performance team dynamics. They provide the multinational medical staff with a clearer understanding of the rescue sequence, which again will reduce the risk of mistakes and simplify post-event debriefings. Their systematic approach to the chain of survival is also helpful for post-event debriefings if something went wrong.


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