A medical emergency in the sky…and two nurses to the rescue!

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The nurse said it was like something that happens in the movies: a medical emergency aboard a packed commercial flight after takeoff.

“This isn’t what happens in real life,” 24-year-old ER nurse Amy Sorensen told ABC News about an ordeal that had her using her nursing skills to aid the pilot of her plane.

About 30 minutes into a United Airlines flight from Des Moines to Denver, flight attendants announced there was a medical emergency and asked if any passengers had medical experience. Sorensen and another nurse passenger, Linda Alweiss, responded and found the pilot in the cockpit having an apparent heart attack.

Both nurses went to work after moving pilot into the galley, using a medical supply bag filled with IV fluids, an automated external defibrillator and other equipment. Meanwhile, the flight was in the process of being diverted to Omaha with the help of another passenger, a retired Air Force pilot.

Sorensen told the Casper (Wy.) Star-Tribune that the pilot remained very unstable during the emergency landing, and that he was taken off the plane by firefighters and medics as soon as they were off the runway.

Though United did not release any information on the pilot, Sorensen was later told by crew members that he was in stable condition the day following the incident and was expected to recover.

“I really don’t see myself as a hero,” Sorensen told ABC News. “I did what I know for a patient that needed it.”

Nurses, have you ever had to come to someone’s aid outside of work? How about on an airplane? Share your stories in the comments below.


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