What is the Role of the Cruise Ship Medicine Expert?

What is the role of the cruise ship and maritime medicine expert witness? When a cruise ship passenger suffers an accident, injury, or acute medical condition which results in litigation, admiralty law governs the legal proceedings. Medical issues in cruise ship cases are complex and cover elements that may be unfamiliar to most medical experts. The cruise ship and maritime medicine expert is knowledgable in cruise ship medicine and the U.S. Code Chapter 303— Death on the High Seas. 46 U.S. Code § 30302 states:

Cause of action

When the death of an individual is caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring on the high seas beyond 3 nautical miles from the shore of the United States, the personal representative of the decedent may bring a civil action in admiralty against the person or vessel responsible. The action shall be for the exclusive benefit of the decedent’s spouse, parent, child, or dependent relative.

In March 2019, a federal jury in Miami ruled that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. must pay $3.38M to the family of Richard Puchalski who died of a heart attack on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas ship in 2016. Puchalski saw the ship’s medical staff and complained of shortness of breath. A ship doctor diagnosed him with a septal infarction and gave him medicine before releasing him from the infirmary. Puchalski reportedly collapsed about 30 minutes after leaving the infirmary and died four days later. Plaintiffs argued that the doctor should have alerted Puchalski’s family, conducted more tests, and/or taken him to an on-shore hospital sooner.

In cruise ship medicine lawsuits, experts analyze medical reports and ship records. They understand the resources and limitations of treating patients at sea and present unbiased testimony to the court. Contact Elite Medical Experts to retain the cruise ship and maritime medicine expert witness hand-selected for the fact pattern in your case.