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Medical Evacuations From Oil Rigs off the Gulf Coast of the United States From 2008 to 2012: Reasons and Cost Implications

Thibodaux, Donald P. MD; Bourgeois, Robert M. MD, MPH; Loeppke, Ronald R. MD, MPH; Konicki, Doris L. MHS; Hymel, Pamela A. MD, MPH; Dreger, Marianne MA

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000221
Fast Track Article

Objective: To identify reasons for air medical evacuations from oil rigs/platforms.

Methods: Retrospective review of data of medical calls from 102 rigs/platforms in the US Gulf Coast from 2008 through 2012 with specific analysis of medevacs.

Results: On average, 1609 total calls per year relating to illness or injury on the 102 oil rigs/platforms with 4% to 7% requiring medical air evacuation. On average, 77% of medevacs were for nonoccupational medical injury or illness.

Conclusions: Illness, not occupational injuries, is identified as the major reason for medical evacuations from oil rigs. Heart disease is the leading cause of chronic health conditions resulting in a medevac.

Author Information

From Safety Management Systems (Dr Thibodaux), Lafayette; Bourgeois Medical Clinic (Dr Bourgeois), Morgan City, La; US Preventive Medicine, Inc (Dr Loeppke), Brentwood, Tenn; KDK Solutions, Ltd (Ms Konicki), Chicago, Ill; Disney Parks and Resorts (Dr Hymel), Yorba Linda, Calif; and American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Ms Dreger), Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Address correspondence to: Donald P. Thibodaux, MD, 306 Amarillo Dr, Houma, LA 70360 (

Authors Thibodaux, Bourgeois, Loeppke, Konicki, Hymel, and Dreger have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine