Emergency CPR performed on flight

On 9th of June 2022 I was on the flight from New Delhi to Bhubaneshwar. After about an hour has passed by on the 2-hour long flight suddenly an announcement was made that if any registered medical practitioner is present on board then please report. I being an Emergency Medicine specialist approached the situation area where I saw a man in his early 40s was jumping up and down with chest pain. 

I was immediately provided the medical kit and I started examining the person. His history revealed that he was a diabetic with kidney problems and was having chest pain for 2 days which was being ignored. Suddenly he started seizing with frothing from his mouth. 

The flight crew wonderfully assisted me to carry him to the aisle and start emergency procedures. We started giving him CPR and assisted with AED. I administered I.V drugs to resuscitate his heart and the efforts continued for another 15-20 minutes. 

Then the flight captain announced that our flight was about to land and we had to secure our positions. We had to stop further attempts of resuscitation and sit back. On landing, the airport medical team arrived and announced the person to be ‘Dead’. It was sad indeed. He most likely suffered a major heart attack. 

Points to consider and understand

  • Do not ignore your health conditions. He was having chest pain which probably could have indicated Angina pain and on check-up may have revealed some blockage of the heart. 
  • On-flight air pressure increases and can cause increased pressure on all organs of your body. If in a weak health condition, it may affect your health. 
  • Avoid excessive eating before a flight. It may cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Medical services are available on flights. Inform immediately to a flight attendant if you feel unwell. 

Wish you a safe and happy flight

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