Carrie Fisher is dead. May her soul rest in peace. My condolences to the family. I was never a Star Wars fan. But this should never happen to anyone. Cardiac arrest during a transcontinental flight. A scary proposition indeed. It is rare. But it does happen.

Twenty years ago on a British Airways flight from Heathrow to Sydney there was a death. I cannot remember any calls for a doctor. I cannot remember CPR being performed. The only reason we came to know about that death on board was the unscheduled and prolonged stop in Bangkok until the judicial officials (perhaps the police too) came to remove the body. We were just told this information as the explanation for the delay. The dead man was in economy class. He was anonymous. I don’t think it made the news but I must confess I did not read the next day’s Bangkok papers.

Carrie had her cardiac arrest I presume in first class or business class. Sky is a great leveler. There is no class distinctions and certainly no religious discrimination. If you have a cardiac arrest you go. Period. And go a bit higher in the sky, and  you go clad only in righteousness, if any, according to Job(29:14), and with the only treasures you have stored safely in heaven, if you had bothered to heed Mathew (6:20), and notched up some Brownie points with St. Peter.

But the reason I write this today is to bring the attention on the medical facilities up in the sky. The few times I have volunteered to be “the doctor on board” I had my heart in my mouth and ventured out with a silent prayer. Luckily the only damages done were to the champagne and wine corks after the event.

Imagine you are a rich millionaire, but not rich enough to have your own private jet with your personal physician  shadowing you like your conscience. You will be paying an arm and a leg to travel first class. But what happens at the moment of truth? If you have a medical emergency you are worse off than some one in remote Africa who has to travel hours to get proper medical attention. You will have to travel several hours too albeit at supersonic speed. And you are no better off than the budget travelers packed like sardines in the cattle class (or should it be fish class?).

In fact I wrote about this in my latest novel, bRAINBOW only published days ago. And if you are a doctor think twice before you have that Gin and Tonic. You may be drunk at work.