Lexington Park Volunteers Save a Life While on a Plane to Ohio

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Reader's Letter: Lexington Park Volunteers Save a Life While on a Plane to Ohio


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On Monday morning, May 19, Brian Brown, and Charlie Tippett, who happen to be members of the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad were onboard Delta Airways Flight 1211 flying from BWI to Cincinnati.

About 20 minutes into the flight a lady got up and walked back to the rear of the aircraft, Charlie and I were thinking to ourselves that there must be something going on because the seatbelt light was still on and no one should be up.

After the passenger went to the rear of the plane a flight attendant came up to the seat where her husband was sitting, after about a minute the flight attendant went to the front and used the intercom and asked if there was an EMT, Nurse, or Doctor on board and that they had a medical emergency onboard.

Charlie and I got up and went to see what was going on, upon arrival at the passenger’s seat we found a male in his 40s that was showing what appeared to be symptoms of a serious cardiac issue.

Several seconds later a lady showed up and advised us that she was a registered Nurse (she advised that she had not practiced in over a year).

The patient’s wife advised us that her husband ran out of BP Meds and was given one by a guy at the airport however was not the same as his. She also advised of the other past medical history including two CVAs, three heart attacks, and that he just had three stints placed less than one month prior.

I attempted to get a radial pulse however it was very weak, attempted a blood pressure but was unable to hear the heart beat. The nurse was able to obtain a BP and was only registering 60/30 (120/80 is normal).

The patient was cold and clammy somewhat unresponsive with some slurred speech. Patient’s pulse was weak and rapid, believing that the patient was going in to shock I asked if the aircraft was equipped with any medical equipment besides the oxygen that was hooked up to the patient already and she advised yes. The flight attendant advised that there was a medical bag and she went and got it.

After opening the medical bag it was found to be an ALS I-CAM (initial cardiac arrest medications) bag however had a few other meds and items in it including IV catheters and Sodium Chloride fluid 500ml per bag, we had two bags. I asked the nurse if she would start the IV, she advised me she hadn’t done that in a long time.

I went ahead after she advised she didn’t feel comfortable starting the IV and started the IV myself with the sodium chloride and 20 gauge in the left anti-cubical. After the IV was started I was instructed by the flight attendant that the captain needed to talk to me.

I proceeded to the front of the aircraft where the captain was on the phone needing the patient information and also wanted to know if we needed to divert to the closest airport. I told the captain the situation and the vital signs of the patient and some other past medical history of the patient as well. I told him we should get him on the ground as soon as possible, the captain concurred and we diverted to Pittsburg International airport.

The patient’s vitals were monitored and he was placed in a supine/trendelenburg position across three of the seats. Charlie, the RN, and I stood by him the entire trip holding the IV bag and the oxygen, also making sure he didn’t fall or get hurt anymore then he already was.

The aircraft landed at Pittsburg International Airport at 7:08 a.m., just 49 minutes after takeoff from BWI and 24 minutes after the medical emergency occurred.

The Airport paramedics came onboard and took a report from me and what we had done so far. They loaded him up and took him off the plane to an awaiting ambulance. The flight crew took our names and addresses down and thanked us plenty of times through the rest of the trip.

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