Emergency at 43,000 Feet.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking…….”

The tone in his voice sounded different from when these normal-type announcement comes from the cockpit.  Up until this point we were on a non-stop from the UK to NYC’s Kennedy Airport on an uneventfully calm flight.  This was about to change.

The Captain continued, “We need to know if there are any medical personnel aboard, if so, please hit your flight attendant bell.”

Ding.  Ding.  Ding,  Ding.   Well at least that was a good sign.  Four people rushed forward.  Much activity as we were asked to hold our seats.  And after 15 minutes of activity the Captain returned.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain again; we know this is a nonstop flight but I have just requested for an emergency landing in Halifax Nova Scotia for a medical emergency.”   An obvious heart attack. I was sure.  We landed, EMS came aboard and the patient was removed.

As I left the plane when we landed in New York, the flight attendant noticed my Children with Diabetes shirt I was wearing; “If I knew that I might have called upon you.”

“Excuse me?”

Our medical emergency was someone with diabetes who left what she needed in case of an emergency ‘low’ (she was quoting the person who was traveling with the person needing aid) in her suit case.”

“You mean glucagon?  You probably should have made an announcement; we have one with us that we gladly would have given the medical personnel.”

Now there is much wrong with this conversation in my eyes and at the top of the list is what was this woman thinking that she did not have everything she needed with her while traveling?  I cannot answer that question and the woman dropped so low that she went into convulsions; hence the emergency landing.

So we learned, as we knew, that NO ONE who has diabetes should not have EVERYTHING they need when on a flight.  You would think common sense….no?

The second is a suggestion we might want to use.  When traveling with diabetes supplies, you might….notice the word; MIGHT, want to consider letting the flight attendant know that should a diabetes emergency occur while you are flying that you have many supplies with you for whatever the reason (you have diabetes or your child has diabetes).

This may never happen again, but when flying again with one of our kids (when we will have most of what is needed, as much as our kids will have as well…I know they are old enough to have it on their own….it’s a ‘parent thing’….parents know what I mean), I will absolutely make sure the flight attendant knows.  I may not agree with ‘how or why’ this emergency happened but once at the emergency stage, it could have been really helpful to know that there was help just 10 rows back.  That would be a good thing.

If we all did this every time we travel, perhaps one life might be saved, and then it would all be worth it….don’t you think?

I am a diabetesdad.

 

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