Physician's viral tweet spotlights shortcomings of airplane medical kits

Physician Andrea Merrill, MD, went viral June 12 after tweeting about her experience with an in-air medical emergency on Delta Airlines. 

"Dear @Delta, I just assisted in a medical emergency in the air," she tweeted. "Your medical kits need a glucometer, epi pen, and automatic blood pressure cuffs- it's impossible to hear with a disposable stethoscope in the air. Please improve this for passenger safety!" 

Among the thousands of replies to the tweet was Sophia Spadafore, MD, an emergency medicine resident and member of the American Medical Association. She said the issue is currently being discussed at the organization and asked what a standardized medical kit should look like. 

A spokesperson from Delta emailed the following statement to on Becker's June 13: 

"The health and safety of our customers and people remains Delta's top priority, and as such, the medical and emergency equipment on all our aircraft go above and beyond the regulatory requirements. Our flight attendants rigorously train to prepare for medical events and rely on expert advice from our partners at STAT-MD and medical professionals who volunteer to respond to such emergencies. We applaud our crew's quick thinking, bravery, and training-based reactions that keep all on board safe."

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