January 4, 2024 at 10:52 am

Doctor Gets Liquored Up Before A Flight And Refuses To Help A Passenger In Need When Called Upon. Is He Wrong?

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Reddit/AITA/iStock

It happens in movies and television all the time – a medical emergency happens on board a flight and the crew asks if there is a doctor on board willing to help.

You might be surprised to learn that it happens fairly regularly in real life, too.

OP is a doctor who was traveling for pleasure and enjoying alcohol accordingly.

I’m (M, mid 30s) a medical doctor working as an internal medicine hospitalist at a major hospital. Recently I was on a long haul international flight.

Usually I sleep on flights but this was during my waking hours so I decided to spend my time enjoying the inflight entertainment and free drinks.

I had already been drinking even before the flight while I was in the lounge. I was not slurring or excessively drunk but I was feeling a strong buzz.

He even enjoyed chatting with a fellow passenger.

Usually I don’t chat with my co-passengers, I just sleep or do my own thing. On this flight the configuration of the business class cabin was such that the passengers in the middle row were practically just beside each other.

There was just a small barrier separating me and my co-passenger (F, mid 30s) that could be raised but it still didn’t do much to separate us.

She started up a conversation and being a little intoxicated, I was also feeling chatty. When she asked what I do I mentioned I’m a doctor and I work at such and such hospital.

After some more small talk we both started doing our own thing.

The booze is one reason he ignored the call for a doctor on board when it came.

I was trying to watch my movie and enjoy my drinks when an announcement was made asking if there was a doctor on flight.

Normally I would present myself to the cabin crew and help out but after several hours of on flight boozing, I was pretty drunk. I was not able to think clearly and probably would have done more harm than good in such a situation.

I didn’t react to the announcement at all. I continued watching my movie and drinking my drink.

My co-passenger tapped me and said they just announced they need a doctor.

I replied that someone else would help or they would get instructions from the medical team on the ground.

She tried convincing me to go help but I refused.

His seatmate, though, thought he was appalling.

She then said I was an unbelievable AH and if the passenger died it was my fault.

I said listen lady, just because I’m a doctor doesn’t mean I’m on call 24/7 to provide medical care on demand. I work when I’m at the hospital, outside I’m just like everyone else and I’m entitled to drink and relax.

She had a disgusted look on her face but didn’t talk to me after that. I didn’t want to engage with her either.

I’m not sure what happened to the passenger who needed medical assistance but since I didn’t hear any more announcements I assumed all was well.

While exiting the aircraft this lady called me an AH again.

OP really doesn’t think he was required to say a word.

In my mind, I’m very clear that since I was intoxicated I could not provide medical assistance. I was drinking on my own time and there was no expectation that I would need to be sober.

Doctors get to enjoy life too, I can’t stay sober on every flight just in case there’s an emergency.

I don’t think AITA, but I thought I’d get external opinions.


Does Reddit think he had a duty to speak up, alcohol or not? Let’s find out!

The top comment said OP could have been more forthcoming with his co-passenger.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person wonders if OP really just wanted to get mad.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And this commenter figures the woman left assuming OP had lied about his profession.

Source: Reddit/AITA

They say OP has some culpability here.

Source: Reddit/AITA

But others say that the woman likely knew he’d been drinking.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This is a tough one.

I don’t disagree with OP’s sentiments but suspect he could have diffused the situation if he’d wanted to.

If you enjoyed this story, check out this post about a daughter who invited herself to her parent’s 40th anniversary vacation for all the wrong reasons.