“I was taking my daughter to Disney World in Florida for spring break,” explained Air Evac Lifeteam flight nurse Amber Neumeier of Vilonia. “The flight was full with about 45 rows and three seats per side. Towards the end of the flight, the attendants called for any nurse or doctor who might be on board.”
At first, she didn’t respond because she was traveling with her 6-year-old daughter and didn’t want to leave her.
“But when no one else seemed to come forward, I headed to the front of the plane,” she said. “By the time I got up there, two doctors had stepped forward, but were still discussing who should assess the patient. They asked me what I did and I told them trauma flight nurse. That’s when they agreed that I was probably the best to handle the situation.”
It was her understanding that the man had gotten up to go to the restroom and fell in the aisle.
“He appeared to be nauseous and sweating, but was still conscious, so I did a blood sugar test,” Neumeier said. “Then the stewardess asked if I needed anything else, like the AED.
“I didn’t think I would really need it, but I asked her to go ahead and get it out. Shortly after this the gentleman rolled on his side and he passed out. I quickly hooked up the machine and it told me that he had a shockable rhythm. So I used the AED to shock him, we started CPR and the AED suggested another shock,” Neumeier said. “After the second shock he began breathing again on his own.”
The plane was only about 15 minutes from the airport when this happened and they radioed in declaring a medical emergency and were able to quickly land.
“There were paramedics ready when we landed and they took over the man’s care at that point,” Neumeier said. “The doctors and I had started CPR, and after using the AED a second time, the man opened his eyes and began breathing again on his own.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal, but I was glad I was able to help and that the plane had an AED on board.”
He appeared to be exhibiting signs of a heart attack with no actual chest pain. This is not completely unusual but he was lucky to have someone with medical knowledge including two physicians and a trauma nurse to help him.