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New Satellite Tele-Medicine to Help Treat Dutch Harbor Commercial Fisherman

Working in Alaska as a commercial fisherman is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. The first available medical treatment for many injured Alaska fishermen is the Iliuliuk medical clinic in Dutch Harbor Alaska. The clinic sees a wide range of injuries, such as amputations, crush injuries, broken bones, injured necks and backs, and infections. Unfortunately, the clinic in Dutch Harbor is so remote that it can provide only limited medical services to the fishing communities. Serious injuries must be medevacked to Anchorage for medical treatment. However, getting good early care for an injury is critical to a crewman’s having the best recovery possible.

Providence Hospital and Iliuluk Clinic have entered into a unique partnership that will utilize tele-communications via satellite for medical specialist in Anchorage to help and assist in evaluating the patients at the clinic in Dutch Harbor. Real time cameras and communications will allow medical specialists in Anchorage to speak directly with the patient about their injuries and symptoms. The doctor and the patient will reportedly be able to see each other face to face and will not have to rely upon emails or telephone communications with medics. The crews on Alaskan fishing vessels can come from diverse backgrounds and many times English is a second language for the injured crewman. The telecommunications system with Providence will allow the patients at the Iliuliuk clinic in Dutch Harbor to draw upon all the resources of Providence Hospital in Anchorage.

Dutch Harbor is one the United States leading commercial fishing ports. It is the central hub and port for the Bering Sea crab fishing fleet, the Bering Sea Pollock factory trawlers, and the ground fish fleet. The Providence Hospital and Dutch Harbor partnership will mean better outcomes for many injured fishermen working in Alaska.

If you’re injured and have questions about your rights to medical care following an injury, contact an experienced maritime injury lawyer to learn about your rights to medical benefits under Federal maritime law.