A ‘Funny’ Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum…

“Is there a Doctor on board? We have a medical emergency.”

In ode to my quasi-former Mileage-Running ways, I was on a rockin’ a dirt cheap First Class fare from San Jose, CA, to Rome, Italy (Thank You Flyer Talk/Boarding Area Mensches!) Unfortunately, it was a multi-connection, back-breaker, so, when the opportunity presented itself I took a BUMP, a 250$ voucher, and re-booked on a two-hop via IAD red-eye from SFO. Check, check, check!

On said SFO-IAD red-eye with double digit minutes from landing, and only AFTER FA’s (Flight Attendants) announce for the 3rd time ‘Is there a Doctor on-board; we have a Medical Emergency?’ (ME,) ‘Is there a Dr. or Nurse on-board for an ME,’ increasingly panicked sounding; ‘Is there a ‘Dr., Nurse, or Medical Professional on-board for an ME?’ I finally say, uh, oh, I have an expired OEC Certificate and can do an assessment if you want. OEC=Outdoor Emergency Care – it was for Ski Patrol – but that’s another story 😉

The FA’s take me toward the back of plane. There is an UNCONSCIOUS young woman lying flat out in the aisle, OUT COLD. Unconscious, unresponsive, and the aforementioned ‘assessment’ put my ass in the assessment. WTH, seriously.

‘What is her Name, what Happened?” I position myself at her head, she’s breathing, phew, and poke her with my fingers, saying her name, and ‘can you hear me?’ Her 12 family members all chimed in – in a combination of Spanish and broken English. The Puerto Rico Dozen voiced their concerns.

I ask, what turns out to be her Grandmother, what happened; Grandma doesn’t speak English but was translated: 15 YO female, felt nauseous, got up to use lavatory, passed out, and fell in the aisle. Did she hit her head? Yes. On the way down or on the floor? Don’t know. How hard did she fall? I say this while positioning my self at her head, adjust her chin, and ‘take the head’ with my knees since my hand is trying to get a pulse – which is really FRICKIN’ hard to do at 35,000 feet – man it’s loud in this old Boeing… Is she on any meds? No. When was the last time she ate? Does she have allergies? Has this happened before? Does she have any medical conditions? Of course they are all trying to help – each and every one of them… Does anyone have a watch with a second hand? Trying to get pulse. She’s breathing, so she must have a pulse…

FA – can you please get me some ice? Okay, her forehead felt hot – and I figured ice couldn’t hurt and the plane was bloody hot – or I was. Grandmother says “Orange Juice” I ask if she is diabetic? When was the last time she ate? Noon!? 15 hours ago?! (Trying to get a pulse, WTH!) Is she hypo-glicemic? Diabetic? NO, NO. I say to the FA’s ‘No OJ.’ Do you have Glucose? Maybe in the Medical Kit. “Raise her knees up, please.” Got the ice – note to self, ask FA’s put a knot in the ice bag… I’m drenched, but the ice on her head – At least it helps with swelling if she hit her head…

Grandmother is trying to get pulse too – she’s starting to panic. But kid is breathing – screw the pulse. Oh, FA’s “Do you have glucose?” Maybe in our Medical Kit – ‘Get it.” They say they can’t until they have approval from ground Medical. They ask – are you a licensed professional. heck no! I can’t administer anything, the FA’s call ground Medical and arrange for paramedics to meet the plane.

The kid starts to come around. Phew. So, of course the family wants her to get up. No, no, no, no. After a few more minutes on the ground, with ice, knees up, she is coming around. We get approval for the FA’s to open the emergency kit and get the glucose, I open the glucose and hand it to the girl and put it to her mouth and said to take it, slowly. She took a bit and then I handed it off to the grandmother. Okay, now the assessment, she knows her name, where she is, what happened, no she didn’t hit her head or neck, she doesn’t hurt. Do an upper body squeeze and poke and nothing seems wrong. I say wiggle your toes, and move your legs, anything hurt? Nothing – Phew.

PA Announcement, 20 minutes to land, Paramedics meeting the plane.

Family out of the way – Big strong guy in row 37, help. We get her sitting, then standing, then to my seat in row 1. I take a seat in the back until my row 1 seat mate changed places with me so I could sit by the girl. Plan lands – I don’t even have my seat belt on as I’m trying to get blankets around the girl who is now shivering – I hope she’s not going into shock…

Taxi to the gate – Paramedics arrive, they get her and the Puerto Rico Dozen off. Paramedics have it well in hand and I get my pack and leave, to the thanks and kind words from the FA’s, family, and passengers.

The adventure continues.

Elizabeth

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