It may have been a routine emergency procedure for the experienced crew of Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas, but in Wilmington (DE), it was big news.
According to the Wilmington News Journal, Empress of the Seas made an emergency call at the port of Wilmington Saturday night due to a medical emergency aboard. The ship left Philadelphia about 5:30pm Saturday afternoon on a 7-day cruise to Bermuda. About 8pm, a passenger, a 60-year old man from New Jersey went into cardiac arrest, and the ship's doctor determined he would be better off at a shoreside hospital. So the captain turned the ship in the channel and docked at Wilmington. The operation happened so quickly, EMS technicians were onboard even before patient was stabilized enough to be taken off the ship.
Cruise ships do not normally call at Wilmington, and at that time on a Saturday night, there weren't enough handlers on duty at the port to properly land Empress, so the firefighters we pressed into service to assist handling the lines.
The patient was in critical condition when he left the ship with his wife, and an update wasn't available. Empress of the Seas continued on its way to Bermuda a few minutes after the patient was on his way to the hospital. The crew of Empress of the Seas trains for such operations on a regular basis, and it quite often called upon to perform those operations, so it was all in a day's work for them. In Wilmington, however, when a cruise ship comes into port, it makes big news.
Note: Link is valid at the time of posting.