Taiwan's China Airlines soon to have onboard medical professionals for each flight

The airline is making arrangement for the program, newly supported by the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medication Foundation

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(Flickr/talkairlines)

(Flickr/talkairlines)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's China Airlines has begun making arrangements for an onboard medical care program.

The program is being developed in line with the motto, “Compassion for society, consideration for the country” (慈悲為社會, 善念為國家) and has won praise from many within the medical community of Taiwan.

UDN reports the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medication Foundation (慈濟醫療體系) announced Friday it will join the program, and hopes to help bring comfort and peace of mind to passengers. The hospital and airline made the joint announcement at a press conference at the Tzu Chi Hospital Hualien branch.

China Airlines operates an average of 250 flights around the world each day. Company chairman Ho Nuan-hsuan (何煖軒) said his organization does not only care about how many tickets it sells, but also that every passenger on each of its flights arrives at their destination happy and healthy.

Should a passenger encounter any medical needs while onboard, Ho said, China Airlines staff will respond with immediate assistance.

Although all cabin crew are fully-trained in first aid, they are only able to provide limited assistance for particular ailments, which raises the need for a fully-qualified medical professional on all flights, Ho commented. The chairman thanked the Tzu Chi Foundation for its decision to participate in the program.

According to a report from The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) network, between 2009 and 2013 there were 24 to 130 in-flight medical emergencies for every million passengers. As 40 billion customers take off on commercial airline flights each year, according to the report, this could mean between 260 and 1,420 in-flight medical emergencies each day, highlighting the importance of onboard professional medical assistance.

China Airlines reiterated the program is not unique to or patented by the company, but has been devised in order to provide customers with an extra level of comfort and protection while on board. It not only represents cross-border cooperation, but also the company’s highest respect for the work of medical professionals, a representative stated.

Director of the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital Chun-Lung Lin (林俊龍) said he has already applied to join the China Airlines onboard team of physicians, and is calling on more from his team to do the same.

China Airlines began cooperating with Chang Gung Memorial Hospital to promote the onboard medical care program in 2017, and has received support from Taiwan Medical Association since 2018. The organization expressed sincere gratitude to the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medication Foundation for also joining the cause.