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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 187-192

Naval Maritime Physician : Roles and Challenges

1 Classified Specialist (Aero-Space Medicine), INS Viraat, Mumbai, India
2 Medical Officer, INHS Asvini, Mumbai, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-3605.204477

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Background: Naval maritime physician is a trained doctor who is responsible for providing promotive, preventive and curative health care to the ship's crew. Injuries and sickness of seafarer's has existed since the time man learned sea travel In earlier day the duties of maritime physician were performed by the captain or barber surgeons who used archaic remedies such as treating sores from the ropes on sailors' hands with sufferer's urine, turpentine for rheumatic pains, limb injuries were frequently treated with amputation and most popular cure for all ailments was always gin, rum or whiskey. Then came the diplomed physicians and trained medical officers on war ships who were wardroom warrant officers and it was only in 1808 that the medical officers were given commissioned ranks. Over the centuries the role of naval maritime physicians has evolved to provide high standards of care even in adverse conditions and with minimal support. Roles and challenges: Good maritime medicalpractice involves meeting numerous challenges of clinical, occupational, emergency, trauma and psychiatric medicine, in addition on board physicians must also have, in depth knowledge of pschycosomatic conditions due to stress andfatigue of crew and special conditions such as diving accidents and accidents involving aquatic animals. The situation on board requires extraordinary skills as interventions are difficult, both physically and technically, because the conditions at sea are often acrobatic and at certain times evacuation is also not possible due to weather and operational constraints. Thus the role naval doctor on board ships is truly of an all round physicians, a team mate and a good leader. Conclusion: In conclusion, responsibilities of Naval Maritime Physician is not limited to clinical activities but is multifaceted and objective training about the specifics of warships' environment and related health problems is the key to achieve professional excellence in every sphere.

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