Indian-origin doctor saves man who suffered cardiac arrest twice on London-Bengaluru flight

Indian-origin doctor saves man who suffered cardiac arrest twice on London-Bengaluru flight

An Indian-origin doctor from Birmingham, Dr Vishwaraj Vemala, saved the life of a passenger who almost died twice during a ten-hour flight.

An Indian-origin doctor from Birmingham saved the life of a passenger who almost died twice during a ten-hour flight from the UK to India. .

Dr Vishwaraj Vemala is a consultant hepatologist (liver doctor) at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. He was flying from London to Bengaluru when cabin crew on board the flight started calling for a doctor when a passenger went into cardiac arrest.

A 43-year-old man, with no previous medical history, had collapsed in the aisle of the airplane and went into cardiac arrest. Vemala attended to the passenger and twice resuscitated him. The passenger at the time did not have a pulse and was not breathing.

“Dr Vishwaraj Vemala, one of our consultant hepatologists, saved the life of a passenger who suffered two cardiac arrests mid-flight. With limited supplies, Dr Vemala was able to resuscitate him before handing over to emergency crews on the ground,” tweeted University Hospitals Birmingham.

It took the doctor about an hour of resuscitation before the passenger regained consciousness. He asked the cabin crew if they had any medication. "Luckily, they had an emergency kit, which, to my utter surprise, included resuscitative medication to enable life support," he said. However, he added that apart from oxygen and an automated external defibrillator, there was no other equipment on board to monitor how he was doing.

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With the help of other passengers, Dr Vemala also got his hands on a heart-rate monitor, blood pressure machine, pulse oximeter and glucose meter to keep an eye on the patient’s vital signs.

According to a press note, Dr Vemala said, "In total, he was without a good pulse or decent blood pressure for nearly two hours of the flight, alongside the cabin crew, we were trying to keep him alive for five hours in total. It was extremely scary for us all, especially the other passengers, and it was quite emotional."

Concerned about the passenger’s chance of survival, Dr Vemala and the pilot tried to get permission to land at the nearest airfield in Pakistan, but their requests were denied. However, they were able to arrange for a landing at Mumbai Airport in India, where emergency crews were waiting for them on the ground.

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