Is There a Doctor on Board? A Personal Account by Allen K. Lieberman, MD


December 2, 2016

Is There a Doctor on Board? by Allen K. Lieberman, MD

After spending a special Thanksgiving holiday with the family, I had boarded an early morning Southwest Airlines flight that took off from Newark, New Jersey and was en route to my home of many years, Austin, Texas.

About thirty minutes into the flight, and many years of flying on commercial airlines, there was the call: Is there a doctor on board? Jumping into action for my first in-flight call for medical assistance, I made my way to the back of the plane, concerned I would find someone going into cardiac arrest. As I walked briskly, I automatically began reviewing CPR training in my head. To my surprise, when arriving where the passenger was seated in the plane, I discovered a young woman who was in obvious physical distress.

She was weak, perspiring heavily, and having a difficult time breathing. What was most worrisome was that she kept fading into and out of consciousness. Fortunately there was a wonderful Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)  on board who introduced herself as Barbara. Working together, we began to render aid with the in-flight medical kit. We discovered that her blood pressure was dangerously low and decided to position her body prone, across the floor in the back galley, elevating her legs, and began to administer oxygen.

Thankfully, within minutes we were relieved to see the young woman open her eyes and have her respond to our questions. When she became more alert and oriented, her blood pressure gradually rose to safe levels. Barbara and I monitored our in-flight “patient” the remainder of the four-hour flight, initially staying with her in the back galley, and then, after some turbulence, moved to seats in the back row where all of us could be safely buckled in.

I cannot express to you how truly gratifying it was to witness this young woman able to walk off the plane on her own accord.  Paramedics were on the scene as we made our way off of the plane and walked into the airport in Austin, Texas.

I’m extraordinarily happy and relieved that my very first in flight medical experience had such a wonderful outcome.

A special thanks to Barbara and the Southwest Airlines flight attendants, especially Robert, who was at our side and assisting the entire time.

Visit Austin Family Allergy & Asthma to learn more about Dr. Lieberman, who is often seen on KVUE television as a medical expert presenting information on allergies and asthma. Dr Lieberman’s partner, Board Certified, Hetu Parekh MD may also be seen on their weekly segment. To contact their office call 512-346-7936.


This entry was posted in on December 2, 2016 by AENT Team.

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