Jamie Field is a frequent flyer. Based out of Modesto, CA, Jamie often flies to Baltimore to visit his family. On his most recent flight, he had just settled in, headphones on and ready to relax. About two hours into the flight, he noticed the flight attendant was making some sort of announcement. He removed his headphones just in time to hear her ask if anyone on the flight had medical experience.
Jamie, an EMT with almost 30 years of experience, raised his hand. The flight attendant checked his credentials and led him to the back of the plane. Jamie found a man laying half off the flight attendant’s seat with his legs on the floor. According to Jamie, the man looked very pale, was sweating profusely and had a low heart rate. Jamie immediately asked the attendant to help lay the man flat on the floor. As Jamie began trying to assess the patient, he asked the attendant if there was oxygen on board besides the main masks used for flight emergencies. Fortunately, there was. As Jamie administered oxygen, the man began to come around.
About that time, another gentleman, Peter, who was a pediatric nurse, came back to lend a hand. Jamie and Peter worked together to monitor the patient’s vitals. They managed to get the patient on his feet but his blood pressure began dropping while standing, so they decided to keep him lying down.
The pilot called back to the flight attendant and requested to speak to Jamie. He then connected Jamie to MedLink, an online service that connected the plane to a physician. Jamie conferred with the doctor and determined that the patient was stable but would need plenty of fluids and monitoring. Since they were only two hours into the flight with three to go, the pilot asked Jamie if he needed to divert.
“This was not a decision I wanted to make but I felt the patient was stable enough that we could make it the rest of the way,” Jamie said. “So, I switched seats with another passenger and stayed in the back with the patient to monitor him and check vitals the rest of the way.”
Once the plane landed, all the other passengers deplaned, local paramedics came on board and took the patient to the hospital. The patient was extremely grateful for everything Jamie did for him.
“This was the first time anything like this has happened to me on a plane,” Jamie added, “but I would do it again in a heartbeat.”