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Nurse couple save man’s life after his heart suddenly stopped mid-flight

Nurse couple save man’s life after his heart suddenly stopped mid-flight

The couple were flying back from a vacation when they were called into action

Two qualified nurses saved another passengers life after his heart stopped while the plane was in the air.

It's a moment that's almost become a cliché, the call from flight attendants asking if there's a doctor on the plane.

Fortunately for the passenger on Southwest Flight 553 on 1 May, there were two people with medical experience on board on that day.

Emily Raines and Daniel Shifflett were returning from a holiday.
WJZ CBS Baltimore

Emily Raines, 31, and Daniel Shifflett, 28, were travelling on the flight.

Both Emily and Daniel are qualified nurses, with Daniel having worked as a nurse for five years before he switched careers to work in finance.

And Emily has worked as a nurse for ten years at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

They were on the flight when the call went out, as Daniel said: "We just kind of looked at each other."

The pair then leapt into action and told people that they both had medical training.

“I could hear the panic in the flight attendant’s voice," Daniel told the Washington Post.

A flight attendant then led the couple to a passenger who had slumped over in his seat as another flight attendant was attempting to carry out chest compressions.

The man's face had turned a purple colour and he didn't have a pulse.

He had fallen unconscious about halfway through the three hour flight.

Daniel explained to them: "You need to be on a flat surface. Otherwise, the compressions aren’t going to do anything.”

It was the first time either of them had responded to an emergency on a plane.

They immediately moved the man onto the floor in the aisle so that they could carry out chest compressions.

Daniel said: “It was difficult to do, because we were in the middle of a plane aisle, which is very thin,”

After 'about 15 minutes, they were able to 'get his heartbeat back' before the plane was about to make an emergency landing.

Emily 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.”

The passenger was rushed to hospital once on the ground and they remained in touch with the man, who is doing 'remarkably well', and his family after the incident.

His wife told them in a message afterwards: "We are still not completely sure what happened. He didn't have a heart attack.

"Obviously, his heart stopped, but they believe multiple factors played a roll. Mostly, it was due to low oxygen levels.

"I cannot possibly thank you enough for saving his life. There are no words."

The young couple had been retuning from a cruise in the Bahamas and had tried to change their flight earlier, but it had been too expensive.

They have since said they were glad they remained on their original flight.

Emily said: "It’s not every day that these things happen. I’m really glad we were able to be there to help.”

Featured Image Credit: WJZ CBS Baltimore

Topics: Travel, News, US News