Medical Emergency at 35,000 Feet
Medical Author: Benjamin C. Wedro, MD, FAAEM
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
At 40,000 feet over the Atlantic, the concept of "routine" doesn't exist for medical emergencies. My flight leaves Europe mid-afternoon en route home to the U.S.. Halfway through the flight, I was half way through watching the midflight film when the announcement came. Medical help was needed in row 21. An ICUnurse and I both responded to find a woman in her early 50s lying back in her seat looking rather ill. She was pale, sweaty and complaining of chest pain radiating down her left arm associated with shortness of breath.
The flight attendants had started to move. The woman had been given aspirin, and an oxygen maskwas on her face. Passengers nearby were relocated; two large medical equipment bags were already in the aisle.