Scott F.; Have Oxygen, Will Travel. Ann Intern Med. 1999;130:1036. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-130-12-199906150-00018
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;130(12):1036.
Jerry Gorby, an emphysema patient from Napa, California, lives tethered to a canister of liquid oxygen that runs at 2 liters per minute. He once canceled plans to visit a childhood friend who lived 150 miles away because he could not locate an oxygen supplier to refill his canister.
Airlines, cruise ships, trains, and buses can accommodate travelers who have a variety of special needs. However, oxygen-dependent patients like Gorby face many obstacles when they travel and must plan every detail long before their trips.
First, oxygen-dependent patients need prescriptions from their physicians indicating diagnosis, liter flow, and the number of oxygen tanks the carrier would need to provide during the trip. James K. Stoller, MD, from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, noted that oxygen is indicated for patients who fly when their predicted oxygen pressure at cruising altitude is less than 50 mm Hg (which is calculated by equations using arterial blood oxygen tension and forced expiratory volume in one second [Dillard TA. Ann Intern Med. 1989. 111:362-7.]). Patients must contact carriers at each destination to have their oxygen delivered to their home or to the plane. If their home care company cannot help them locate carriers, patients can consult the Yellow Pages or other resources. More information is available from American Society for Respiratory Care (oxygen4travel.com), Transtracheal Systems (www.transtracheal.com), and Amtrak (www.amtrak.com).
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