A pediatriac dentist of 32 years, the last thing Dr. Martin Kaplan of Stoughton expected on his return flight to Logan Airport from a vacation in the Grand Caman Islands on Feb. 27 was a medical emergency.
That was until a flight attendant uttered those fateful words to the passengers: “Is there a doctor on board?“
There were two doctors, in fact, and an EMT. Kaplan, the first to respond, found the heavyset man slumped backward in his seat near the First Class section.
“He was definitely, clinically dead from the first point I saw him,” said Kaplan, 59, president of Kid Care Dental, 1613 Central St. in Stoughton. “I didn’t think about anything except helping this guy.”
“He was a big guy, difficult to move out of his seat,” said Kaplan, who managed to drag the man out of his seat and lay him down in the aisle.
Kaplan was then handed an onboard automatic external defibrillator. He waited for the charge signal. Then he applied a shock to his patient’s chest – and waited.
Kaplan reset the defibrillator and applied another shock. Again, nothing.
Relying on his CPR training Kaplan began applying chest compressions for the next three or four minutes.
Suddenly, he noticed the man had a pulse and his eyelids began to flutter.
Finally – he got a pulse.
Slowly, groggily, the man regained consciousness.
Throughout the unexpected ordeal, Flight 1734 was on its way for an emergency landing in Durham, N.C. Kaplan said that with all the excitement he had lost track of time.
The unidentified man was later taken off the plane and to a hospital.
Kaplan returned to his seat to a round of applause from the other passengers.
He is happy with the knowledge that was there at the right time to help out.
“That was pretty cool. It was just so surreal,” he said.