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Novant Health nurse gives live-saving help during inflight medical emergency

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - What was supposed to be a regular connecting flight from Charlotte to Dallas, ended up being a life-saving moment for Novant Health nurse Sarah Tyson.

Thursday morning, Tyson was coming off an overnight shift in the NICU at Novant Health’s Presbyterian Medical Center.

“I got home, grabbed our bags and then went to the airport to get on her flight,” Tyson said.

Tyson and her husband had a final destination of Colorado where they were going on a hiking trip for the weekend. Tyson figured she would catch up on sleep during the flight.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a flight and had something like that happen,” said Tyson. “About an hour into the flight, I woke up for some reason.”

Suddenly, a message came across the plane’s intercom.

“Overhead they said.. we have a medical emergency, any medical professionals please head to the back,” said Tyson.

She immediately got to work.

Tyson discovered the passenger was having a seizure. After stabilizing her, a few minutes later, the woman started seizing again.

“It’s very rare for someone to just randomly have a seizure,” said Tyson. “But I was like, well, maybe she has [repeated] seizures.”

Tyson and the help of two other passengers started looking for any other medically identifying information the woman had with her.

“I was like, and I don’t feel comfortable going through people’s stuff,” said Tyson.” But I was like, You know what? I need to know anything I can about this girl, like, ‘What’s her name?’ You know, ‘what medication is she on?”

She found anti-seizure medication in the passenger’s bag.

They were able to successfully stabilize the woman’s breathing for the rest of the flight.

Tyson says EMS treated the passenger once they landed in Dallas.

The medical emergency got Tyson thinking after the flight.

“With iPhone they have in your settings [you can set up] the medical ID information,” said Tyson.

Apple says setting up your Medical ID helps first responders access your critical medical information from the Lock screen, without needing your passcode.

“If you set it up, you can put any medications you’re on any medical history, your blood type, your point, your emergency contact person,” said Tyson.

The passenger Tyson helped didn’t have a Medical ID set up on her phone. But it’s free to set up through the Health app on your iPhone.

You can also set up a medical ID through your android by downloading an app. You find options in the google play store, here.

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