NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A husband and wife are being credited with saving a fellow passenger’s life while on a flight to LaGuardia Airport.
The two doctors and their son were headed to New York to attend the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
An 86-year-old woman was in crisis, having what appears to be heart attack or stroke mid-flight. Her granddaughter’s voice on video taken by a CBS News Producer who happened to be on last night’s flight was heard saying “She had a seizure it looks like.”
The pilot called for a doctor and a man already dressed in his scrubs jumped up. “I was in the right place at the right time,” explained Neurologist Tom Devlin.
He took one look at the woman and knew it was bad. “Without a pulse, not breathing, completely comatose in her chair,” he said.
Devlin determined the woman was having heart trouble, not a stroke. “It was clear this was a potential life and death situation,” he said.
A cardiologist is what the woman needed. Dr. Devlin knew one, his wife Dr. Carol Gruver. She was also on the plane, then took over and brought the woman back from the brink.
“Just with really some minimal resuscitative efforts like raising her legs, putting her down, giving her oxygen, she came back but she was still not in a good way,” said Dr. Carol Gruver.
Now they needed a hospital fast and the pilot announced New York would have to wait. “We are diverting to Richmond so this medical situation can be addressed promptly,” he said.
After a smooth landing the patient, now conscious, went to a Virginia hospital where she is recovering. The flight resumed and the doctors made it to New York in time to take their son to the big parade.
“We just did what we do everyday,” Dr. Devlin said. “We’re just glad it looked like it had a very happy ending.”
The physicians said it’s an excellent reminder that everyone should learn CPR, because you can’t always count on doctors being on a flight.
This has happened to the couple before. Last year the doctors helped a flight attendant suffering from chest pains. That flight was also diverted and also had a happy ending.