Medical Emergencies on Amtrak

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winterskigirl

Service Attendant
Joined
May 2, 2012
Messages
195
Does anyone know why it takes so long for Amtrak to deal with medical emergencies en-route? I was on the California Zephyr last weekend from Reno to Denver and we had 2 such situations. There was an aid car at the next station with EMT's in addition to a Sheriff's car and on-board Amtrak personnel involved. Just wondering the Amtrak protocol in such situations. Not fun for the involved passenger'(s) I'm sure. Delayed our arrival in Denver by 4 hours (minor inconvenience) in retrospect. :huh:
 
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Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,017
Depends on the medical emergency. The priority is treatment of the patient, not getting the train rolling as soon as possible. Ironically, the more severe the emergency, the quicker you'll get rolling again (generally speaking). In the case off a heart attack or a stroke, The medics are going to want to get the patient off the train and to the hospital ASAP, and there is no possibility that they will be able to continue their journey. For something less severe, you can take more time to evaluate the patient and the decision to leave the person behind isn't as clear cut...
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
25,844
I was on the Silver Star in May when there was a medical emergency on board. At first, they asked over the PA if there was a doctor or nurse on board. We stopped (as scheduled) at ALX at bit longer then normal, but I guess it was not all that serious and we continued to WAS. There Amtrak Police and EMTs were waiting for the train.

As I was getting off at WAS, I don't know if the Star was delayed.
 

JayPea

Conductor
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
3,803
I've been on trains twice in which there were medical emergencies. The first, on the Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited a couple of years ago, we stopped in a small town in Texas to wait for the police and an ambulance. In that case, we were delayed about 45 minutes to an hour, but made up quite a bit of that thanks to padding and we were at our next scheduled stop, El Paso, less than half an hour behind. The second occurred just last month, on the CZ portion of my Ft. Lauderdale-Spokane trip. In that case, an ambulance, EMT unit, and police unit were already waiting for us at our stop, which was Fraser-Winter Park. As this was a smoke/fresh air stop anyway, we lost no time as the patient, an elderly lady, was carried from the train, placed into the ambulance, and was gone before the smoke/fresh air stop had ended.
 

jphjaxfl

Conductor
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
1,237
Medical emergencies happen on planes and cause delays too. I was flying from ATL to LAX on a packed DC10 a few years back. An elderly person had a Medical emergency so the non stop flight diverted to Las Vegas. A husband and wife nurse couple who assisted had to get off too. Flight was about 3-4the hrs late arriving at LAX.
 

amtkstn

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Messages
714
Back in 2007 I was coming home on the SWC the train made a 30 minete stop west of La Plata to take off a passenger that had stop breathing. The stop made it possible to be late at Newton. The next day UP 844 was running on the railroad right along the highway to get me home.
 

gswager

Conductor
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
2,860
If there is medical emergencies on board, do not pull the emergency brake handlej, EVER!!! If it did happened, the conductor had to get off the train, even in middle of nowhere, for inspection on each cars, taking about half hour or longer, before proceeding. It costs valuable time for interception with EMS crew.

Depending on locations, sometimes the train will stop at a grade crossing for ambulance interception, after coordinating with 9-1-1 and train dispatcher. Safest way is at the station platform, depending on the distance and severity of medical emergency.

Amtrak employees are trained for basic medical emergencies, along with CPR, automatic defibrillator, and even oxygen.
 
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