Usually, the internal medicine hospitalist would help in case the cabin crew requested, but there was an exception during that flight.
They say, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." However, in this story, there's something else that keeps a doctor away from treating a person during a flight. In many cases, emergencies on a flight are usually sorted out by the doctors who are on the flight. Sometimes, a few unfortunate situations may require the flight to be landed mid-way. Given the importance and necessity of profession, u/ThrowAwayFoodie22, an internal medicine hospitalist, never ignored such requests from the cabin crew. This time, he had a valid reason. While his co-passenger found his lack of response inconsiderate, the internet came to his rescue, saying he made the right choice.
The doctor was on a long-haul international flight and decided to enjoy his waking hours by utilizing the in-flight entertainment and free drinks. "I had already been drinking even before the flight while I was in the lounge. I was not slurring or excessively drunk, but I was feeling a strong buzz," he explained in the post. During his flight, the mid-30s doctor chatted a little with his co-passenger, exchanging pleasantries about each other's work. A while later, when he was enjoying his movie, the cabin crew made an announcement requesting a doctor.
"Normally, I would present myself to the cabin crew and help out, but after several hours of on-flight boozing, I was pretty drunk," the doctor wrote and added, "I was not able to think clearly and probably would have done more harm than good in such a situation. I didn't react to the announcement at all." As he continued with his movie, the co-passenger insisted he respond to the call. "I replied that someone else would help or they would get instructions from the medical team on the ground," mentioned the doctor.
The 30-something-old lady, unaware of his reason for ignorance, said that he would be the reason if the person died. "I said, 'Listen, lady, just because I'm a doctor doesn't mean I'm not on call 24/7 to provide medical care on demand. I work when I'm at the hospital, outside, I'm just like everyone else and I'm entitled to drink and relax,'" he explained.
The physician didn't want to engage anymore with the woman. Since there were no more announcements after that, he assumed the person who required medical assistance was safe. "In my mind, I'm very clear that since I was intoxicated, I could not provide medical assistance," the doctor clarified. Pointing his right to a relaxed journey, the physician said, "I was drinking on my own time and there was no expectation that I would need to be sober. Doctors get to enjoy life too, I can't stay sober on every flight just in case there's an emergency." However, having been called an a*****e by his co-passenger multiple times, the doctor was concerned if he made the right decision and many backed him up.
"The crew would not have used you in your capacity as a doctor as you were intoxicated. By law, they cannot as you are well aware. They would've gotten assistance from another sober doctor on board and the ground medical team. Your fellow passenger is TA for saying those things to you. Hopefully, after the flight, she learned that couldn't have helped because you were drinking," commented u/Affectionate_Face_71. "NTA, but I could see why she'd think so. You were right for not responding to the call as you were impaired, but why wouldn't you explain this to the woman? As far as she could tell from your response, you were just being apathetic and hoping someone else would handle it," pointed out u/lessthandave89. "You did the right thing but the way you presented yourself sucks," wrote u/Hazz3r.