Home » Vacationing Nurse Saves Passenger’s Life On Southwest Flight

Vacationing Nurse Saves Passenger’s Life On Southwest Flight

by Nolan Hawk

A Baltimore nurse and her ex-nurse boyfriend miraculously brought a man back from the brink of death during a flight.

Emily Raines, 31, an acute care nurse who works at Great Baltimore Medical Center, and her boyfriend were flying home from a four-day cruise in the Bahamas, when a passenger aboard Southwest Flight 553 on May 1st suffered from a medical emergency.

She and her beau Daniel Shifflett, 28, a former nurse who now works in finance, knew when they heard the flight attendant’s urgent calls for help from medically trained passengers, that the situation was “going to be serious.”

“I could hear the panic in the flight attendant’s voice,” she told the Washington Post in an interview.

As Raines and Shifflett answered the call, they figured out a treatment plan while heading up the aisle.

“On our way up there I was trying to pregame like hey if we have to do compressions, I need you to do compressions. I’ll take care of everything else,” she told CBS News.

When the reached the ailing passenger, their game plan became relevant, when they saw flight attendants already performing CPR on a man who was unconscious and purple in the face.

“It was quite alarming, obviously, seeing his face look that way,” Raines recalled.

Shifflett said that the CPR being done on the man by the flight crew was not doing anything to save him, because it was performed while he was still in his seat.

“You need to be on a flat surface. Otherwise, the compressions aren’t going to do anything,” he noted.

Raines and Shifflett managed to lay the man down in the middle of the aisle and performed several rounds of chest compressions while the flight from Fort Lauderdale was diverted to Raleigh, North Carolina for an emergency landing.

To make matters worse, the man’s chest was not rising when Raines performed rescue breathing.

In a what she described as “amazing” moment during the “very overwhelming” ordeal, the man suddenly opened his eyes and regained consciousness.

“Not a lot of times when you give CPR or have situations like this do patients truly make it,” she stated.

Particularly when they’re down for extended periods of time like the passenger was without breathing.

“I would say about seven minutes before we landed is when we got him back to life,” Raines added.

Upon landing, the man was rushed to a local hospital for treatment and the pair of nurses were given high-fives by fellow passengers for being everyday heroes.

Remarkably, if the couple’s original plans to change their return fight had worked out on either of their two attempts to extend the vacation, the passenger would likely be dead.

“I’m not sure what would have happened,” Raines remarked. “I’m really glad we were able to be there to help.”

The man has been released from the hospital and is doing “remarkably well,” though the cause of his condition remains a medical mystery.

“We’re still not completely sure what happened. He didn’t have a heart attack, but his heart stopped,” she followed-up.

“They believe that multiple factors played a role, mostly due to his low oxygen levels.”

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