Heart Attacks, Heart Failure and Strokes

The excitement of high seas adventures can turn tragic in certain circumstances. Both recreational boaters and those who work on the water for a living are exposed to a variety of conditions, and at times those conditions can trigger a sudden and life-changing physiological response. The symptoms synonymous with heart attacks (chest pain, sweating, nausea and vomiting) can sometimes be confused with an excited reaction to the sights and sounds of life on the open water.

Heart Attacks

Conversely, those who work on the world’s waterways for a living are sometimes thousands of miles from quality medical care. Fishing boats, shrimp boats, cargo vessels etc. can be poorly equipped for emergency medical situations and unqualified and/or under-trained staff can only exacerbate an already fragile situation with a misdiagnosis of symptoms associated with potentially life-threatening ailments such as a heart attack.

A heart attack is a common (and treatable) condition that sometimes develops quickly and without warning. Unfortunately, there are certain occasions where the environment in which the attack takes place prevents the victim from receiving prompt and effective medical care. If you or a loved one has suffered an attack while aboard a vessel, you may be entitled to compensation in accordance with your pain and suffering. Contact a qualified and compassionate admiralty law attorney for more information today.

Heart Failure

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to pump a sufficient amount of blood through the body. Individuals with symptoms reflective of heart failure must be given immediate medical treatment, but that can be an extremely difficult chore when the episode occurs miles away from the closest hospital or treatment facility.

Cases of heart failure are not uncommon on open water, as both recreational and professional maritime agencies have reported cases concerning employees and passengers alike. Often times, the vessel upon which the episode occurs is improperly equipped with the medical equipment needed to treat life-threatening physiological ailments like heart failure. In addition, officers and crew members are either poorly trained or understaffed, and emergency medical protocols are not maintained.

Life threatening maladies such as heart failure require immediate medical response, as well as trained and attentive individuals who are capable of providing care until the victim is transported to a medical facility. If you or a loved one has suffered undue physical and emotional hardships due to the inadequate medical supplies and procedures employed by a vessel’s officers and staff, contact a compassionate and experienced attorney immediately.


The symptoms associated with stroke (dizziness, numbness in the extremities, trouble maintaining balance) can easily be misconstrued with the effects of prolonged exposure to the elements at sea. As a result, a host of victims have been misdiagnosed by ship doctors and other available “medical experts” who failed to realize the severity of the condition until it was too late.

A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted, starving brain cells of the oxygen needed to survive. Strokes range in severity, but all require immediate medical attention, as damaged brain tissue can lead to severe mental debilitation, and, if left untreated, death. Professional and commercial boats, oil rigs, floating canneries and other maritime-based vessels often lack the needed medical supplies and trained staff to effectively deal with the potentially life-threatening situations that can occur on the world’s waterways.

The physical and emotional impacts of a stroke are not easily dealt with, especially in situations where proper diagnosis and care could have prevented extensive damage. Negligence on the part of unprepared or under trained staff requires immediate legal action. Consult with an understanding and experienced attorney as to your legal rights in maritime injury cases.