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Seafarers' injuries require prompt treatment

When you get hurt on a typical job site, the foreman or crew boss might send you off to a local hospital or doctor's office for treatment, maybe a few stitches. But when you get hurt on a seafaring vessel, you're a world away from access to a hospital or doctor's office

What happens then? Data is scant on the health care options available for the over 1 million seafarers around the globe. In fact, it's such a problem that over the past decade, Yale University launched its own research on the treatment of the illnesses and injuries suffered by those toiling aboard ocean freighters.

In conjunction with Future Care Inc. out of New York, the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program (OEMP) studied over 7,000 incident reports on health care services provided via the Caring for the Crew program.

This program offers health care services to seafarers as well as managing the mariners' shore-side medical care. The director of Yale's OEMP who is also a professor of medicine at the university stated that "The goal of the study is to identify the biggest medical problems and risk factors so that we can optimize health care for seafarers and minimize costs for everyone involved."

In addition to organizing emergency responses, Future Care coordinates mariners' primary care. Their database stores requests for doctors' advice for common ailments when the vessel is at sea. They are responsible for coordinating care for seafarers who were injured or suffer from long-term illnesses. They handle everything from common colds to catastrophic injuries and cancer diagnoses.

The researchers seek to understand what information is available and what is lacking so that they can improve their programs and continue to provide mariners with the quality health care they need and deserve.

Were you injured while working aboard an oceangoing vessel? You may be able to seek compensation for any injuries and damages that you suffered.

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