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Cardiac arrest happened twice on flight from London to India, doctor became Messiah at height of 40,000ft



London. A doctor recounts the five-hour struggle on his journey where he saved the life of a passenger on a long-haul flight. In fact, Dr Vishwaraj Vemala, 48, a liver specialist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, was on his way to India with his mother when another passenger suffered cardiac arrest. With the help of medical supplies and the belongings of passengers who were on the plane at the time, Dr Vemala resuscitated the 43-year-old twice.

He said he would remember this experience for the rest of his life. He said: “Obviously during my medical training it was something I had experienced, but never at 40,000 feet in the air.” According to a BBC report, the incident dates back to November 2022, when cabin crew on an Air India flight from London began seeking medical attention after the passenger suffered cardiac arrest.

The passenger’s pulse and breathing were also not working. Dr Vemala said: “It took me about an hour to get his heart rate back up.” He added: “Fortunately the crew had an emergency kit, which surprised me as this kit included life-sustaining medication to deal with cardiac arrest.”

second cardiac arrest
However, other than oxygen and an automatic defibrillator, he said, “we had no monitors to help us monitor the reaction of the patient’s body.” After talking to other passengers on board the Air India flight from London, Dr Vemala found various machines including a heart rate monitor, pulse oximeter, glucometer and blood pressure monitor.

The patient suffered a second cardiac arrest shortly thereafter, requiring even longer resuscitation. He said: “We tried to keep this person alive for a total of five hours.”

Airplane landing at Mumbai airport
The pilot arranged for a landing at Mumbai airport where emergency personnel whisked the passenger to safety after thanking Dr Vemla for saving the patient’s life. He further added, “It was the first time in seven years as a consultant that my mother had seen me work, which made the event all the more emotional.”

Tags: air india, UK, cardiac arrest, London