Saturday, January 07, 2023

Indian-origin doctor saves co-passenger's life, twice, on ten-hour-long flight

A British-Indian doctor, who is a liver specialist, battled for five hours to save a co-passenger, who almost died twice during a 10-hour Air India flight from London to Bangalore.

The 48-year-old doctor, Vishwaraj Vemala, who works at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, was on his way to India accompanied by his mother when a fellow passenger went into cardiac arrest, according to a report in BBC. Aided by medical supplies on board, including a pace monitoring device and blood pressure monitoring machine, and other items from passengers, Vemala twice resuscitated the 43-year-old in an incident that occurred in November.

On his flight, a 43-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest and Vemala attempted to resuscitate the passenger, who at the time did not have a pulse and was not breathing.

“It took about an hour of resuscitation before I was able to get him back. During this time, I asked the cabin crew on board if they had any medication. Luckily, they had an emergency kit, which to my utter surprise, included resuscitative medication to enable life support,” the doctor said in a statement released by University Hospitals Birmingham.

However, other than oxygen and an automatic defibrillator, the doctor said, there was little to help monitor how the patient was doing.

While speaking with Vemala, the passenger went into cardiac arrest for a second time. This time it took longer to resuscitate him. "We were trying to keep him alive for five hours in total," he said.

“It was extremely scary for us all, especially the other passengers, and it was quite emotional.”

Utilizing his skills to keep someone alive 40,000 feet up in the air was something the doctor had never imagined.

The pilot arranged for landing at Mumbai Airport where emergency crews took over and the passenger was taken to safety, after thanking Vemala for saving his life.

07/01/23 Economic Times

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