Couple who are nurses save man's life mid-flight
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Featured Image Credit: WJZ
A couple, who are both nurses, saved a man's life when he fell unconscious on their flight.
Emily Raines and Daniel Shifflett were flying home from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Baltimore, Maryland, when they heard a commotion starting on the plane.
Over the speakers, a flight attendant asked for any passengers with medical experience to come to the front of the plane to assist a passenger who was having a medical emergency.
The couple immediately got up and headed down to lend a hand.
Raines, 31, said: "I could hear the panic in the flight attendant’s voice."
When they reached the front of a plane, they found a man slumped over in his seat, with no pulse and his face a blueish-purple colour.
This was halfway through their three hour flight.
Shifflett, who worked for five years as a nurse before going into finance in 2021, said: "A flight attendant was trying to do compressions, but the guy was on his chair.
"You need to be on a flat surface. Otherwise, the compressions aren’t going to do anything."
Shifflett and Raines got the man onto the ground and began doing chest compressions.
With only a tight plane aisle to work in, the factors were against the couple, with Raines admitting that she couldn't see the man's chest rise for a while.
Realising that his airway was blocked, the couple acted to clear it.
Thankfully, there was medical equipment aboard the plane, including an oropharyngeal airway - a device used to open a patient's airway.
Other passengers helped assist in assembling the equipment.
In addition to the oropharyngeal airway, Shifflett used a bag valve mask which provided positive pressure ventilation.
Raines continued doing chest compressions. Describing the pressure, Raines, who has been a nurse for ten years, said: "It was very overwhelming."
After fifteen minutes, they managed to get the man's heartbeat back, just as they made an emergency landing in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Raines said seeing the man's eyes open was 'amazing'. The passenger was taken to hospital by emergency personnel.
Raines said: "Not a lot of times when you give CPR or have situations like this do patients truly make it. It doesn’t happen often."
It's fortunate that Raines and Shifflett were on the flight to begin with, as they had originally tried switching to an earlier flight, but this proved too expensive.
The couple acknowledge that they're glad they stuck with their original flight. Since the incident, which took place on May 1st, the couple have stayed in touch with the man and his family.
It's still not known what caused his medical emergency, as he reportedly didn't have a heart attack.
The man's wife reached out to the couple and thanked them profusely over text: "I cannot possibly thank you enough for saving [his] life. There are no words.
"He’s at home now and he’s doing well."
His wife promised to make a batch of 'fancy' cookies for the hero couple as a show of gratitude.