If you have read some of our earlier articles relating to the Black Book of the Admiralty, the basis of modern maritime law, you will have gleaned that as early as the 15th Century there was a clearly laid down duty of medical care to sailors at sea in the event they were injured or fell sick while in the service of their ship.
However, whether you would have been thrilled at the prospect of receiving such care in those far off days is another matter entirely.
Take the ancient ‘cure’ of trepanation for example. Trepanation was a crude surgical procedure that involved forming a hole in the skull of a living person either by drilling, cutting or scraping away layers of bone with a sharp implement to expose part of the brain. There is evidence of this procedure being used as far back as 10,000 years ago.
It was a practice believed to treat any number of ailments and superstitions including freeing the patient from demons, a rite of passage to adulthood or turning a boy into a warrior. Trepanation was also used to treat tumors, convulsions, epilepsy and migraines. There seemed to be any number of excuses for poking around inside your skull back then.
Hieronymus Bosch depicts trepanation in the late 15th/early 16th century.
Today, modern neurosurgeons perform what are now called “craniotomies” to treat brain injuries, relieve pressure on the brain and reduce swelling, thereby improving blood flow. A craniotomy is a type of life-saving treatment you might find you suddenly need in the event of a serious injury whilst travelling as part of your job.
Crew members don’t realise that overseas travel significantly heightens the risk of illness and injury from waterborne diseases to malaria, to unfamiliar viruses which your body is unable to cope with, to accidents caused by something as simple as unfamiliarity with foreign roads.
Therefore, without the insurance to pay for the best medical care in remote or highly developed countries, you’re exposing yourself to major or long-term health implications.
Protect yourself at all times
Moore Stephens Brokers Limited specialises in insurance and income protection plans for all superyacht crew, with policies tailored uniquely and comprehensively for the needs of this demanding and rigorous profession.
So, before you get a “headache”, take time to talk to us about a lifetime of first-class medical protection. After all, you need serious health problems overseas like you need a hole in the head.
Contact us directly:
Melanie Langley - Senior Crew Benefits Adviser
Tel: +44 (0)7476 592592
John Colborne - Crew Benefits Adviser
Tel: +44 (0)7445 055303
* Photo credits: Wellcome Collection; Wikimedia Commons