What starts off sounding like a bad joke actually isn’t a joke at all. A doctor, a policeman, and a pharmacist were on a plane when a man had a heart attack. Thanks to these three men, the man’s life was saved. According to Live Science, the man went into cardiac arrest during the flight, but those trained in emergency care were able to resuscitate him using equipment on board — and drugs.
The flight was a long one — from Canada to Hong Kong — and Dr. Dave Monks heard a man start complaining about chest pain.
“Monks went to speak with the man, who said his pain was radiating to his ears and gums, before he lost consciousness. The passenger had no pulse.”
The doctor didn’t waste any time doing chest compressions. He hollered for help, and the two men that responded were also trained in basic emergency care. Together, the three men worked to save the man’s life. They were able to move the man’s body to an area on the plane that had a bit more room. The policeman did CPR while Dr. Monks monitored the man’s airways. Meanwhile, a flight attendant grabbed an AED and the passengers worked together to shock the man’s heart and get him alert once more.
“These guys just happened to be on the plane and even with the [basic medical skills] they had, they were able to perform a quite dramatic and sophisticated critical care resuscitation.”
Things didn’t end there for the doctor, policeman, and pharmacist, however. After about an hour, the man went into cardiac arrest again, likely suffering from what Dr. Monks called “cardiogenic shock.” CPR was conducted again and the pharmacist administered epinephrine under the doctors supervision. Shortly thereafter, the plane landed in China (it was diverted due to the medical emergency) and the man was transported to a nearby hospital. And he lived.
“When the flight landed, the man was taken to a nearby hospital and given anti-clotting drugs. He later made a full recovery and suffered no brain damage.”
Unfortunately not all stories of mid-flight trauma end this way. According to LAist, a man on a Southwest plane died after taking a heart attack. His wife said that the flight attendants told her that her husband’s chest was “too hairy” for the defibrillator to work. According to The Inquisitr, Southwest is said to be looking into the incident.
[Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]