It sounds hard enough to be a medical professional, what with all that blood and guts on the job, but even when you’re not at work, it’s like you’re always on call. And thank goodness for that, after two nurses on a recent United Airlines flight had to step up and treat the plane’s pilot during a medical emergency in midair.
As anyone who’s ever had need of medical help on a plane knows — yours truly included, and yes I was just fine, thank you — it’s a great relief to hear an affirmative when the call goes out on the intercom: “Does anyone on board have medical training?”
That’s when one of the nurses, a registered nurse traveling home from Iowa with her husband and teenage daughter stepped up to help. Right before another call came out on the intercom — “Anyone know how to fly a plane?” reports KTLA.com.
She volunteered to help out, and was led to the cockpit where the pilot was slumped over, mumbling and barely responsive. It appeared he could be having a heart attack, as his heart was beating irregularly.
The woman and another nurse on the flight pulled him into the galley, where they set up a diagnostic defibrillator and administered an IV.
Meanwhile the co-pilot had taken control of the airplane while the call went out asking for anyone with flight experience.
“I turned to the co-pilot and I asked her, ‘You know how to land the plane, right?’ And she said yes,” the nurse explained. “I felt immediately comfortable. That was just one thing I didn’t have to think about, so I could focus more on what was going on with the patient.”
Paramedics were awaiting the plane in Omaha upon its safe landing, and the pilot survived.
“She did her job,” her husband said. “She jumped at the opportunity, didn’t hesitate. And she did it at 30,000 feet, knowing that the person who was supposed to be flying the plane was her patient.”