A little bit of effort goes a long way.
I recently had the opportunity of tending to a fellow who tripped over a suitcase being pulled by someone in a hurry. He took a tumble and broke a finger. It hurt like hell and we did our best to get him comfortable, recommending a trip to the urgent care, local ED or even our onsite clinic. After all, if it doesn’t begin to heal properly it can remain disfigured. I have an old injury to prove it.
He refused and just wanted to get on the plane and go home.
The airline, however, had other concerns.
There are 2 distinct conversations that take place when you’re hurt or ill at an airport:
First, the usual EMS conversation about assessment findings, treatment options and transport availability.
Then a separate conversation takes place between the passenger and the carrier.
If the carrier wants you to go to the hospital, you are allowed to tell them to go pack sand. They can deny you travel.
If I tell them to let you on the plane, they can tell me to go pack sand. And then deny you travel.
When the airline supervisor was concerned about the injury I simply explained why I was comfortable letting the patient refuse transport and reminded them that if there was any real concern we would recommend to the airline that they restrict travel. When we suggest that, they listen.
When an airline representative is nervous I do my best to calm them.
Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, but I’ve been noticing in recent weeks I am met by first name by the representatives and soon after we discuss the patient’s options with the patient, the rep asks what I think they should do.
I could have gotten upset, raised my voice or tried to assert some kind of authority early on but I’m fairly confident this would not be the end result. A little effort now will go a long way later.