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rpo0522

Bad Viking Rivier Experience...

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My wife and I were on the Viking River cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest this spring.   As we were boarding the ship the first time, I walked by a gentlemen sitting on the sofa, and headed to the back of the ship for something to eat.   After I had passed, I looked back and that gentlemen had slumped over and the crew rushed to his aid.  They first checked for an obstruction in the air passageway and then set him down on the floor.  Then the crew did nothing.   No CPR.... no defibrillator... instead they waited for the ambulance to arrive and by then it was too late.   Basically, I felt they watched him die from a heart attack and made no attempt to save him.   This, as you can imagine, ruined my trip.    In talking with the cruise director, she really gave no indication as to why nothing was done, just claiming that the ambulance was there in under 5 minutes..... which I know wasn't true.   Upon my return from this terribly wasted trip, I called one of the Viking Managers to discuss this but they were investigating the incident and couldn't say much, which I understood.  I've since called him 7 times this fall asking for an update and to see if any training or changes had taken place for emergency's in the future.  Makes me wonder what kind of company Viking truly is...

What do you think I should do?

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Well first, do you know that he had no pulse when they laid him on the floor?  Just because he did not survive the incident doesn’t mean he was pulseless when they found him. If he still had a pulse then chest compressions would not have been indicated. 

Second and more importantly I think you need to let this go. There is nothing you can do. It was obviously quite traumatic for you, but there is nothing you can do about it. You chose not to jump in and initiate CPR yourself even though they were not acting as you felt they should and I suspect that is bothering you as well.

 I don’t think Viking really owes you an explanation (the man’s family perhaps, but not you).  If you feel you would be putting yourself at risk by traveling with Viking, then it is not a good choice for you. The problem is I’m not sure how you could guarantee that things would be different any place else...on a tour bus, in an airport, on an ocean cruise ship in port (the dr is only required to be on the ship during infirmary hours), another river cruise line.... we would all hope that prompt treatment would be available and that it would “save” us, but there is no way to predict who will be around and how they will respond in a crisis and the chances of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest even under the best of circumstances, sadly, remains incredibly low.  

Viking (or any other company) will never give you any information about this event. You have no way of knowing the circumstances and it would be quite inappropriate for them to give you any information as a bystander. As painful as this was for you please just move on because no more information will ever be provided. 

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Let's see if OP posts any replies.  I am always skeptical when someone makes their first post a complaint, then never posts again.  This occurred in the spring, 6 months ago.  @mhb1757 is 100% correct---this could have happened anywhere and OP needs to let this go and not blame Viking.  Unfortunately, deaths on vacation are very tragic but not limited to Viking.  What happened is between Viking and this person's family.

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You both make very good points...as far as not doing the CPR myself, it was because they had staff refusing to let anyone near, which was the right thing to do.  What happened is definitely between Viking and that person's family, but proper training for medical emergency's is a concern for everyone.  I didn't look like they had any training at all.  And as you say I'm letting it go...   Thank you for your posts!

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It would have been a distressing incident to witness.

Difficulty with such events are multiple.

Not everyone wants CPR and we know nothing about the person who collapsed or their wishes, or if they were alone or with family.

Staff on river ships have limited if any medical knowledge or skills and will always call for expert help in an emergency.

We have seen staff organise appointments for medical care and transport if required. 

We have heard passengers complain about lack of a nurse/doctor on board for medical attention. Staff can organise a doctor to attend at the passengers cost if required, usually the ship is not far from medical care.

Sorry you were a witness to this but unfortunately it can and does occur.

Also CPR does not always mean a positive outcome.

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Wow - I probably would have pushed forward and tried CPR if they were not. Well, I would like to think that I would.

 

Someone posted that we don't know the deceased wishes, I doubt Viking knew their wishes either.

 

I am used to having AED machines in every building where I work. I don't think I have seen them on ships - I think I need to start looking for them.

 

My guess is Viking wasn't going to do anything, regardless. Maybe they are not trained. Maybe they should have made an announcement onboard "If there is a doctor or nurse onboard or anyone trained with CPR, please report to xxxx". If it was me, I would want someone to help.

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@rpo0522, thank you for replying--you obviously aren't the one-hit, complain than disappear type of new poster, but appear to be a thoughtful person who was very distressed at what was witnessed.  If the person suffered a stroke, for example ,than CPR would not have helped--I would hope someone assessed whether or not the victim had a pulse.

 

Tough situation anyway you look at it.  Not to sound trite, but I get what you're saying.

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8 hours ago, pully8 said:

 

Staff on river ships have limited if any medical knowledge or skills and will always call for expert help in an emergency.

Probably but where I work - we all have the option to learn CPR and also to learn how to use AED machines which are in every building.

 

I think given a ship full of people, there is probably at least one doctor or nurse onboard who would probably be willing to take over. All of my friends are trained in CPR and AED. It is cheap to get trained and easy to find classes. IMO - it would be easy for Viking to train their employees or some of their employees. Or have AED machines onboard. They are often voice activated and will walk people through it even if they have not had training.

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16 hours ago, rpo0522 said:

You both make very good points...as far as not doing the CPR myself, it was because they had staff refusing to let anyone near, which was the right thing to do.  What happened is definitely between Viking and that person's family, but proper training for medical emergency's is a concern for everyone.  I didn't look like they had any training at all.  And as you say I'm letting it go...   Thank you for your posts!

I saw a mob hit once where I couldn't do anything. It really did bother me for a long time.

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Without knowing the whole story, it's hard to say who should have done what, if anything.  Was the gentleman traveling by himself?  

 

On one of my ocean cruises, there was a couple sharing my dining table.  The wife confided to me in the ladies room that her husband had terminal cancer, and this would probably be their last cruise or trip together.  He had a heart attack in the cabin one night.  The med center staff and security arrived.  After assessing him, they asked if she wanted him resuscitated.  She said no.  A difficult decision, but maybe for the best under the circumstances.  

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10 minutes ago, Roz said:

Without knowing the whole story, it's hard to say who should have done what, if anything.  Was the gentleman traveling by himself?  

 

On one of my ocean cruises, there was a couple sharing my dining table.  The wife confided to me in the ladies room that her husband had terminal cancer, and this would probably be their last cruise or trip together.  He had a heart attack in the cabin one night.  The med center staff and security arrived.  After assessing him, they asked if she wanted him resuscitated.  She said no.  A difficult decision, but maybe for the best under the circumstances.  

 

That is a conversation that all aging couples should have before the emergency strikes.  DW and I have done.  That makes the decision much less difficult, because you know you are following your spouse's wishes.

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If anyone wonders what "repatriation of remains" means on your travel insurance policy, you will find out if your loved one dies out of the country or on a cruise ship in international waters.  It's expensive and complicated.  Fortunately this couple had coverage.

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4 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

That is a conversation that all aging couples should have before the emergency strikes.  DW and I have done.  That makes the decision much less difficult, because you know you are following your spouse's wishes.

 

Let me state for the public record that I DO want to be resuscitated.  Ignore anything else my wife says.

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Just now, philw1776 said:

Let me state for the public record that I DO want to be resuscitated.  Ignore anything else my wife says.

 

She said to put it up for a vote.  How much is my vote worth to you? :classic_wink:

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On some cruises we have been asked to provide personal and medical info, including meds being taken.

We are told it will be kept in a sealed envelope and only opened in an emergency.

That may have assisted in such an emergency? or he might have been wearing a medic alert device with info?

We have not travelled with Viking so have no idea of their emergency management plans.

Doubt we will ever be asked at check in if you want CPR but you never know!! 

 

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On 10/18/2019 at 7:59 AM, mhb1757 said:

Well first, do you know that he had no pulse when they laid him on the floor?  Just because he did not survive the incident doesn’t mean he was pulseless when they found him. If he still had a pulse then chest compressions would not have been indicated. 

Second and more importantly I think you need to let this go. There is nothing you can do. It was obviously quite traumatic for you, but there is nothing you can do about it. You chose not to jump in and initiate CPR yourself even though they were not acting as you felt they should and I suspect that is bothering you as well.

 I don’t think Viking really owes you an explanation (the man’s family perhaps, but not you).  If you feel you would be putting yourself at risk by traveling with Viking, then it is not a good choice for you. The problem is I’m not sure how you could guarantee that things would be different any place else...on a tour bus, in an airport, on an ocean cruise ship in port (the dr is only required to be on the ship during infirmary hours), another river cruise line.... we would all hope that prompt treatment would be available and that it would “save” us, but there is no way to predict who will be around and how they will respond in a crisis and the chances of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest even under the best of circumstances, sadly, remains incredibly low.  

Viking (or any other company) will never give you any information about this event. You have no way of knowing the circumstances and it would be quite inappropriate for them to give you any information as a bystander. As painful as this was for you please just move on because no more information will ever be provided. 

 

Thank you. This is one of the best responses I have read in this forum.

 

 

 

 

 

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For me, this thread brings into focus the risk/reward aspect of life as related to travel. Personally, the reward of visiting places in the world different from my little spot on the globe far out ways the small but real chance that something bad might happen. Now I realize that it might be easier to say that when I am healthy and all is well around me. However, when my time comes if there is no help available to delay the inevitable, then I hope I have been enjoying what I was doing, and my family knows I was happy when I departed. And I do hope I get to stick around for a while, as we still have three future cruises booked!

 

 

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43 minutes ago, lackcreativity said:

For me, this thread brings into focus the risk/reward aspect of life as related to travel. Personally, the reward of visiting places in the world different from my little spot on the globe far out ways the small but real chance that something bad might happen. Now I realize that it might be easier to say that when I am healthy and all is well around me. However, when my time comes if there is no help available to delay the inevitable, then I hope I have been enjoying what I was doing, and my family knows I was happy when I departed. And I do hope I get to stick around for a while, as we still have three future cruises booked!

 

 

 

Well stated.  This is my attitude towards traveling also.

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 Viking River Cruises should have an AED on EVERY ship.  I thought I saw one near the entry on Skadi so I’m pretty sure they do.  The least that should be done is follow the instructions on the AED.  ANYONE can do this, just read step by step.  The AED will walk you thru what to do until helps arrives.  All staff should take a brief class on how to use it.  However you don’t have to have training.

 

Hind sight is 20/20.  We don’t really know what was going on. Perhaps they could see him breathing and you could not.  In this case you would wait for help.  He would not need CPR if he was breathing.  It may have been a stroke. 

 

Its hard to witness these happenings and it seems it really affected you.  He was on a trip of a lifetime and enjoying himself to the end.  Try to let it go and don’t let this stop you from getting out there and enjoying life. It could have happened in his sleep at home.  While it would be hard on your travel companion it’s not a bad way to go.

 

I’m pretty sure Viking was not negligent. We all know there is some risk while river cruising because there is no doctor or nurse aboard. However the boats are always close to land and the help there.  

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In an emergency (Austria and Germany) an ill/injured person (passenger/crew) can be airlifted off the ship if it is deemed necesary. This happened some years ago in Passau.

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Yes very good emergency management in many European countries.

Impressive use of road and choppers to respond and take casualties to acute care facilities.

This was discussed on a recent trip to Salzburg, and no doubt we all have seen the responses to multiple casualties when acts of violence have occurred, or road trauma.

As others have said we do not know all the facts in the case reported. 

Edited by pully8
missing word

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18 hours ago, G.M.T. said:

In an emergency (Austria and Germany) an ill/injured person (passenger/crew) can be airlifted off the ship if it is deemed necesary. This happened some years ago in Passau.

 

GMT, are defibrillators common in most public places in your area? Just curious, as here, they are just starting to get them out to arenas (ok, hockey country, we probably have more ice rinks than pools) and schools.  Most offices don't have them, and I am unsure about shopping malls, as we tend to shop local......and I can pretty much guarantee that the self owned stores don't have them.  I was just wondering if it would be something you would expect to have on a river cruise ship in Europe, realising that there is a major difference between Europe & N.A. 

Edited by Daisi

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1 hour ago, Daisi said:

 

GMT, are defibrillators common in most public places in your area? Just curious, as here, they are just starting to get them out to arenas (ok, hockey country, we probably have more ice rinks than pools) and schools.  Most offices don't have them, and I am unsure about shopping malls, as we tend to shop local......and I can pretty much guarantee that the self owned stores don't have them.  I was just wondering if it would be something you would expect to have on a river cruise ship in Europe, realising that there is a major difference between Europe & N.A. 

The number of defibrillators available are becoming more wide spread in public spaces, we had one install in our village 6 months ago in the 24/7 foyer of the local bank. The shopping mall in Passau has one.

 

There are now apps available for mobile phone giving the location of defibrillators in the near.

 

We are luckly in that the Passau Klinikum (Universitate teaching hospital) has a very good and well respected cardiovascular medicine facility.

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I always wear a "Do Not Resuscitate" bracelet and carry a legal DNR form in my wallet. I do not want to be resuscitated or intubated if I have a stroke or heart attack. It is possible that the stricken  person had a DNR pendant or bracelet that you could not see from where you were standing. That might be the reason they stopped doing anything. Let's give the staff the benefit of the doubt.

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