Passenger Has A Medical Emergency

August 7, 2009

in Illness/Medical Stories

My husband and I were traveling with our 7 year old son to go to Zurich Switzerland from Atlanta on Delta back in Sept 08. Well we were all very excited and had very little hiccups since we arrived at the airport. Security wasn’t so bad, with no delays… As we board the plane we notice it is filled with older couples apparently from Texas… As were pulling away one of them decides to call a family member and cuss them out… During the silence of everyone making their peace before we take off and here is this woman yelling obscenities into a cell phone… I am covering my son’s ears with both hands, thinking you can’t hide CLASS!!!

Finally she got off the phone as we got on the runway… So we take off and the plane takes a hard right then left and then up some more and turn…. The pressure was getting to my head and I could feel my ears popping, so I told my son to continue swallowing to get the pressure down… We finally got up to cruising altitude…. I notice diagonally from me there is a elder couple apparently not with the Texas group and the husband and wife are fussing back and forth in German… Finally the wife finds the button to push for assistance… The flight attendant comes down the isle with a big smile and perky attitude and she was having a difficult time understanding them, I think, or she just didn’t believe what the wife said, I couldn’t hear just yet because my ears had not popped… Suddenly the flight attendant rushes off with a perplexed/panicked look on her face…

I continue watching the couple and the woman stands up trying to get the attendant’s attention when it happens… The husband’s arms come towards his face and his head tilts to the side and he goes into extreme convulsions… The wife looked on in utter panic, and once he had finished convulsing his body went limp… completely… I thought, I just watched somebody die!!! At that time the flight attendant returned and saw the scene and rushed back to the galley… I am not in the medical field… all we could do is watch…

Finally the man raised up on his own like gasping for air… and then spoke to his wife… as the 3 flight attendants came back to his seat one with a bag and they were all asking what was wrong and he just said “VOMIT!” The flight attendant put the trash bag in front of him and he threw up for several minutes very violently… I thought, ok they are turning the flight around right! No! Keep going the husband said I am fine!!! WHAT!!!! They call for a doctor and a few people came up some spoke German, to assist him…

From what I could understand, the man was seriously sick but refused to let them land because people would be mad at him… Well this goes on for about an hour and a half and finally one of the head flight attendants comes out and says we’re going to Philadelphia and then they said Pennsylvania, finally we ended up in Boston… They had emergency crews waiting on the tarmac… The EMT entered the plane and said “Uh, ok! can you walk?” He and his wife got off the plane walking and I don’t know what happened… But I truly believe this man had a stroke, because his face was distorted afterwards slightly… but honestly I do not know…

Well if you ever had to make an emergency landing… It takes forever to take off again!!! We sat in Boston for nearly 4 hours… Til finally taking off again…

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodi August 7, 2009 at 3:30 am

oh my.. that poor man. I hope he ended up being alright.


Nacho August 7, 2009 at 4:34 am

Oh my god… the poor guy! He probably didn't want all that attention, and he was likely right about people causing a fuss if they had to turn the plane around… even if it seemed medically necessary!

Bless his heart, I hope he's okay.


SAW August 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm

I really do wonder why people who are VERY ill seem to be more afraid of what other people will think, and put their own health at risk. I've seen this happen a few times (though not as violently as this). I've seen diabetic comas, epileptic seizures, and extreme panic attacks that made William Shatner and the troll seem tame.

If you're sick, please, just don't get on the plane in the first place!

The airlines need to make it easier for you to reschedule without penalty if you are ill. It's only fair.


Atari August 12, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Yeesh. I can understand the fear and, perhaps even, the cold sweat that might trickle down one's face when in a situation wherein someone may be dying, or may have died, and you are unable to do anything other than stare in horror.


Jeanie August 18, 2009 at 7:43 am

It sounds like this poor man had an epileptic seizure. Scary as all heck, sure, but that's probably why he insisted that he was okay.


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