Flying can be scary. So when a mid-air medical emergency happens, things can take a terrifying turn.

And unfortunately for all of us, the spunky doctors of Seattle Grace would most likely not be on the same flight as us. Or would they?

medical-emergencyIn a truly uplifting instance of life imitating art, two heroic doctors saved a JetBlue flight from disaster. Doctors John Flanagan and Mathew Stevenson, who were traveling from Florida to Jamaica with their spouses, were called to action shortly after takeoff.

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An elderly woman had begun struggling to breathe, and efforts to ease her difficulties by the nurse who had first responded to the woman’s distress failed to work.

Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Flanagan jumped in to help as the woman went into respiratory arrest.


While the entire plane froze in fright and the crew scrambled to find the nearest airport for an emergency landing, the two doctors found themselves having to resuscitate the woman — without any of the necessary equipment.

In true Grey’s Anatomy style, the medical professionals improvised. Stevenson gathered airbags and oxygen tanks, cutting and attaching them to build an assisted breathing machine.

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For 45 minutes, the two heroes kept the patient breathing. Fellow passengers supported their life-saving efforts throughout, praying and encouraging them.

Thanks to the medics’ resourcefulness, the woman was able to hold on until the plane landed in Fort Lauderdale and emergency services stepped in.

It was both amazing and terrifying at the same time to witness my husband and his friend do something they do every day … save someone’s life.

— Xenia Flanagan

After the ordeal, Dr. Flanagan and Dr. Stevenson continued their journey, toasting to the happy outcome once they reached their holiday destination.


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