This is a true story which took place recently on an Air NZ
flight. I thought I'd share it as an example of days when we're really tested, and the difference it's ocasionally our privilege to make.
During our XXX-XXX flight, at 0625, one of our passengers had what he thought was an asthmatic attack, which subsequently turned out to be an anaphylactic reaction to aspirin. Jane gave oxygen and I set up the nebuliser but he died 8 minutes later. We performed CPR
, which revived him, and 2 doctors on board kept him supported with IV
adrenalin and other drugs. The flight diverted to Auckland and we landed with 2 doctors, a nurse, and 2 crew holding on to various bits of drips, medical equipment, and oxygen bottles while supporting our patient on the floor at 1L. They were sitting on and covered in broken glass (from about 30 broken wine glasses when our patient collapsed against the wake-up trolley), juice and smoothies, blood, vomit, and other unpleasant body waste.
All other crew rearranged themselves to take different doors for landing. ISC Hilda took command of the cabin from 1R and I sat at seat 2A to give the brace commands to the medical team as I could not access the jump seat at 1Left. Paramedics met the aircraft and we farewelled a bewildered but very lucky and alive young man.
The Captain debriefed the crew on board. Today, I called all the crew who were involved with the passenger to check that they were okay as it was an emotionally and physically exhausting event that was particularly uncomfortable for John and Jim who were crouched around, (and landed beside) the patient for 2 hours.
All the other crew played an equally vital part to the success of our diverted flight; distributed drinks in lieu of a breakfast service as ½ the crew were occupied with the emergency. These crew rearranged for landing so that all doors were covered, releasing crew to stay with the patient.
Today I called the hospital to see how our passenger was doing and whether his family had been contacted and whether he needed any assistance as New Zealand is not his home. I was most surprised to be put through to the ward, and then through to him. We had a wonderful chat for about 30 minutes. He had little idea what had happened so at his request we went through the timing of events. He wanted to meet all the crew again but of course that isn%u2019t possible. He then asked me to pass on to everyone his deepest gratitude to all the crew, particularly as the enormity of what had happened set in. The passenger said that he was really enjoying his flight; he loved the service, the IFE, and the food, and he thought the crew were fantastic. And then to have them save his life just topped it. He said that he would always fly Air New Zealand from now %u2018until he dies%u2019 and we laughed that he better not try to do that again too soon.
To the crew; I am so proud of all of you for pulling together and forming an incredible team.