Thursday, December 18, 2008

Medical emergency on Flight 1577

Southwest flight 1577 from LAX to Tucson was 3 hours late taking off today. The plane was delayed in Las Vegas due to weather. I’m on the aisle in the next to back row with one of the few empty seats on the plane next to me. The flight attendant had just taken my order for a soda when a young Asian woman two rows in front of me suddenly began screaming loudly in a language I didn’t understand. Her older companion (grandmother?) had passed out and was not responding. She was trying to rouse her without success. The lead flight attendant was there in a second while another paged the cabin for a doctor or nurse.

Both a doctor and nurse rushed down from the front of the plane while the attendant was asking the young woman some quick questions, including whether the older woman was diabetic.

Orange juice and sugar came out from the back and the doctor had her lying down with sugar under her tongue. Portable oxygen was pulled out of the overhead. Within just a few minutes the woman was looking better and sitting up.

Her medication had been packed in her checked luggage, in the expectation that they would have it in a short time in Tucson, not expecting a 3 hour delay. She also had not had much to eat before the flight. As we started our descent into Tucson, she asked for a bowl of noodles and declined the peanuts and pretzels and my granola bar.

Paramedics took her off the plane in Tucson and by the time the rest of us got off, she looked tired but otherwise fine as they checked her over.

The flight attendants got a lot of well deserved kudos from passengers as we deplaned.

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