No one who goes on a cruise really expects that they will get sick or injured on the journey. Still, it is nice to know that cruise ships have doctors and nurses on board who can treat illnesses or injuries that do occur. Until recently, those doctors and nurses effectively operated independently because of a ruling almost 30 years ago that gave immunity to the cruise lines in the event of medical malpractice aboard a ship.
In a ruling that came from the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, that immunity has been reversed. In that ruling, the court said that the 1988 decision was outdated, partly because of the considerable updates and advances in technology. The judge who made the recent ruling noted that the medical facilities on cruise ships are for-profit operations. These facilities on the ship are usually the only option that passengers have when they need medical care.