“Is There A Doctor On Board?”

How prepared are airlines for in-flight medical emergencies? One doctor shares her story … 

Reddit – I am a young doctor, recently graduated. I fly frequently and last week I faced a very scary situation that I would like to share here. My actions helped save a life, I think.

The plane had started moving on runaway and we were just about to take off, when a kid started screaming 3 rows behind me.

I assumed he was cranky about flying until suddenly I noticed the flight crew rushing past.

She grabbed the child and started shouting, “Is there a doctor on this flight?”

I stood up reflexively without even thinking (part of me screaming this was a very bad idea) and she immediately dumped the kid in my lap.

He was about 1 year old. I don’t have much experience with such a young age. Actively seizing. Grand mal. Frothing secretions from his mouth. Chest not rising.

“The air crew had no medical training … “

My mind went perfectly blank for a couple of seconds. This was bad, very bad. In the background, I could hear the mother screaming her head off about her baby dying.

Training kicked in fast. A crowd was rapidly building up, someone slapping him, someone else trying to open his mouth.

I shouted at everyone to back off and told the air hostess to bring the medical kit and oxygen asap.

We created an empty space for him and I put him in recovery position, removing any big objects in the vicinity.

Now the problem arose. The air crew had no medical training and did not know the contents of their kit. There was no drug to stop his fits, no anti epileptics, no benzos or any sedative. Nothing to establish i.v. access with or anything I could give nasally or rectally. I had no means to stop his seizure.

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