“About 20 minutes after takeoff, we heard the overhead announcement summoning any medical professional on board to offer assistance to a passenger in need,” Gosia recalls. “My husband and I were out of our seats before we said a word to each other.”
Gosia has a background in emergency medicine and has been with our ministry for more than 15 years. Her husband is a captain in the Norfolk Fire Department as well as a paramedic and has a history as a critical care medic. Leaving their 9- and 5-year-old boys in their seats with snacks and tablets, without hesitancy, they volunteered their medical services.
The couple was ushered to the back of the plane and found a female in her 60s, unresponsive, pale, clammy and slumped over in her seat. The flight attendants provided Gosia and her husband with an emergency medical supply bag. After assessing the unresponsive traveler, they lowered her down to the aisle floor where the two went to work obtaining vital signs, as the passenger’s blood pressure and pulse oximetry were extremely low.
With limited communication – the traveler and her companion spoke Korean – essential information such as medical history and allergies was gathered. They initiated peripheral IV access and provided IV fluids as well as oxygen therapy. The passenger’s level of consciousness slowly improved with administrated therapies. Care information was then provided to the pilot and dedicated airline physician, and the decision was made to speed up the arrival time to the destination in order to have emergency personnel meet the patient on the tarmac quickly.
When reflecting on this experience, Gosia shares, “of course I was going to get up and assist if I’m able to provide that help! Sometimes, as health care providers, we forget how automatic giving that help can be until we talk to someone who isn’t medical.”
Gosia and her husband cared for the patient for the duration of the flight and transferred care with a full report to the EMTs once they entered the aircraft upon landing. Despite the language barrier, the patient and her family were in full support.
“We don’t always get a whole lot of ‘thank yous’ from patients because there is so much happening in an emergency department,” Gosia says. “So, when we do get ‘thank yous’ it is much appreciated. I feel very blessed we were on board this flight and able to help.”
This holiday season, we are celebrating by spreading the good news! Read more thankful stories, like this one, that feature our team members, patients and the wonderful communities we are blessed to serve.
Also, learn about the health care services we offer at Bon Secours.