Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The "Airline Emergency" Story
It was an ordinary day. Standing in the back of the Airbus talking to Steve, the flight attendant for the first leg of our trip from Baltimore to Hawaii. Carol and I, along with traveling friends Jerry and Just Sue, left from BWI Airport at 7:02 AM, heading to Phoenix, Arizona. Part way through the flight an announcement was made asking if there were any medical personnel on board our flight. Then I noticed a commotion about half a dozen rows of seats in front of me. I could see the foot of a woman projecting into the aisle with a few passengers offering aide to her. Another announcement was given asking if anyone had a glucose monitor. Didn’t take more than a few seconds for someone to respond with the monitor. Then Steve hustled past me with a bag of fluid which before long was hanging from someone’s suitcase in the overhead bin above the woman’s seat. The cabin was still and quiet as the medical aide was administered. Eventually things calmed down and the woman was placed across three seats to rest. I headed to the rear of the plane to stand for a few minutes to relieve the pain in my back and leg. While there, Steve returned to the rear compartment and I had a chance to talk with him about what had occurred. He wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong, but said she had felt dizzy and faint and had a fever. I questioned him as to whether this happens very often in flight. “More often than you can imagine. And, it never fails that there is a doctor or nurse available to help. We have quite a bit of basic medical equipment and supplies in the plane, but they need to be administered by professionals. People are always willing to help, since the law passed relieving doctors and nurses of any liability while in flight. It is considered a emergency condition and they are not held liable if they attend to whoever may be ill.” We talked about his role as well as his home base as an attendant for US Airways. Then he asked if I needed help and I assured him I just needed to stand and stretch to relieve the pain. He told me they don’t normally allow anyone to visit the rear compartment for any length of time, but didn’t seem to care if I remained for a short time longer. Nice to know that the planes are medically equipped as well as having caring passengers who are more than willing to help in the case of an emergency. On landing in Phoenix, medical personnel assisted the woman off the plane and we saw them taking BP and checking her vitals as we left the exit ramp. Hoping the final leg of our journey is less exiting. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - The second leg from Phoenix to Honolulu was much the same with all passengers asked to wait until medical personnel can take the ill passenger off before we attempt to get out bags. Twice during the same trip is a first for me.