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  • polly 300 posts

    @NickSau

    Years ago on a flight to JNB with my 4 yr old daughter, l volunteered after a call went out. Guy was having a full on MI ( heart attack ) The no 1 was an ex A and E nurse luckily. 4yo was sitting with the wife watching. We worked together monitoring this chap, whose wife and he ( despite his very faint rapid pulse) begged us not to divert to Harare. It was pretty frightening liaising with the BA captain, yelling at me saying do l divert or not? And even counting down til he could continue Took a chance and he survived to JNB. Ambulance waiting, survived in CCU there. Family grateful. Captain gave me champers and a promise of A 6 BOTTLE GIFT to be sent to my home. He also upgraded both of us to F for the return flight. Family did call and said thank you. Wife very relieved. But l think it was avoiding Harare was the big positive. Talking 30 plus years ago, different times. It did save them 1000’s not diverting.
    I did have to phone after a month to chase my case of champers. Thrilled when it finally arrived.
    Even tho we help out when necessary, it is nice to be thanked, and our help acknowledged. We don’t volunteer for thanks, just to help as always. I was just so relieved my judgement call worked, would have hated it if he didn’t make it.
    So l think the OP might remind them of the value her actions resulted in. Ie no diversion required, which is always costly. And they may compensate. I think you definitely need to speak to senior cs about this.
    Best of luck, and thank her for her good deed too.

    The Savage Squirrel 598 posts

    ‘My wife will never ask for anything and never expects anything – as no healthcare professional does.”

    I’m not a doctor but have done various bits of Good Samaritan emergency care. Thankfully never on a plane. Returning to my table in a restaurant after some time assisting at a medical incident to find that the complementary token of thanks was that they had cleared my barely touched food away and binned it was a little annoying at the time but is pretty funny in retrospect 🤣. Seriously; much respect to your wife for managing what is always a very stressful situation so well.

    Seems to me that whatever your view on what your wife should receive, and how hard she should push for it, she’s the medical professional here. If the quote above is her considered view (she will also be better informed than anyone else commenting here – me included – about the particular ethical and medicolegal boundaries that apply to her here) then it seems to me that is both the start and end of the discussion and you should respect her wishes.

    As a slightly off topic addition to the discussion, basic emergency care and life support is a fairly simple set of skills that anyone can learn in a day, yet can be immensely valuable – including potentially in looking after your own nearest and dearest in moments of the most pressing need. In severe medical emergencies, doing SOMETHING imperfectly and within a very basic skill set is still MASSIVELY better than doing nothing. I’d strongly encourage everyone to spend a few hours taking a basic emergency care and life support course. One day it may save a stranger’s – or in fact a very close family member’s – life.

    Colin MacKinnon 298 posts

    @SavageSquirrel Absolutely agree – I recommend the PG CPR app for your phone, covers all sorts of first aid. Five minutes to loom arou d it and your skill level will have doubled or trebled!

    Peter K 583 posts

    Just looked up that app and it’s only available for older versions of Android than my phone. Oh well 🤷🏻‍♂️

    ChrisBCN 293 posts

    This is another one of those (seemingly weekly) first posts that say something nice (wife helping a passenger) followed by something designed to spark controversy (gimme free flights – even if paraphrased).

    What bemused me most though was that you seemingly did not ask for anything to help your wife’s low blood sugar – there is always *something* on a long haul flight that she could have had. I’m sure the crew would have been accommodating in finding anything for her after what had allegedly just happened – did you even ask for something for your wife? This would have been my top priority! You did say the crew were ‘amazing’ which adds to my bemusement.

    All the more bizarre was that they gave you a bottle of champagne whilst your wife was suffering from low blood sugar “could I have a biscuit instead please”. And then despite the ground crew being ‘amazing’ your wife queued until she fainted?!

    davefl 1,413 posts

    IAG realy really really really don’t care. It’s inherent in their business mindset.

    Contrast that with Virgin’s empowerment of their crew.

    I was told as soon as I boarded yesterday that I’d be getting 10k points because the flip down side table at my seat was broken. That was repeated 3 times during the flight and the points are in my account this morning.

    Mouse 190 posts

    A lot of very mean-spirited comments here. Of course the passenger’s wife deserves a financially generous thank-you.

    If I am asked to do six hours of skilled labour, I expect to be paid. The complicating factors in this case – no other qualified person available, life & death situation – make it an even more valuable service.

    BA has no legal obligation / the passenger acted voluntarily / BA is super-stingy / the OP is a chancer – none of these is the point – this is about what BA *should* do.

    What if it happened on a bus? I would expect the same of the bus company.

    Well done to the passenger’s wife. May your efforts be properly recognised. And may the British managerial class one day regain some humanity.

    tootsci 75 posts

    Whilst I have some questions about the OP’s story, and the tone is a little ‘off’, the fact remains that, if you put to one side the nature of what happened, OP’s wife assisted the BA crew with an incident that occurred on board.

    For that, the decent thing would be for BA at a minimum to show their appreciation with flowers/chocolates/champagne sent to their home with a nice card/letter. An additional gesture would be something like CCR access next time they fly or something similar, as suggested above.

    If the incident was e.g. a disorderly passenger and an off-duty police officer assisted crew and then sat next to the passenger for the next 6 hours to prevent further incident, would everyone be saying that it’s the nature of their job to assist and they should just be satisfied that they had a chance to help prevent further disorder? I think not….

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    They absolutely would be, @tootsci! But police officers are technically “on duty” 24/7 and can be disciplined for not taking action in circumstances where their skills might be needed. But I think anyone who goes “above and beyond” – i.e. performs their duties outside of their normal remit and under trying circumstances should have a modicum of recognition, especially as in this case the doctor provided a huge amount of support, both to the passenger and the crew.

    tootsci 75 posts

    @NorthernLass Yes, exactly as you say – someone performing their professional duties ‘above and beyond’ should be recognised in some manner.

    The example of a police officer was what popped into my mind first but perhaps not the best example as, as you say, police are never actually off-duty. Two of my friends are in the Met, and I’ve seen this principle ‘in action’!

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    I’m still wondering how much the patient was aware of (and if they had a travelling companion). If it was me I would be desperate to thank this lady, though of course we don’t know his circumstances, nationality etc, all of which might throw barriers up – plus of course BA isn’t the easiest company to communicate with!

    AJA 1,128 posts

    @polly according to the initial post the flight was diverted to Iceland but not sure how much time that added to the entire flight the actual arrival at LHR was “only a few hours” later.

    I am surprised the captain of your flight relied on your judgement on whether to divert – you advised not necessary but I’ve always thought landing ASAP is a better option than continuing unless the destination airport is the closest airport.

    Gagravarr 71 posts

    Interesting to contrast with Lufthansa’s approach – https://www.lufthansa.com/ao/en/doctor-on-board

    You sign up in advance, they check your credentials, issue some bonus miles, then cabin crew know what doctors they have on board + what speciality

    Andrew. 511 posts

    It all depends on who is being cared for/resuscitated.

    There is a definite scale of thanks that starts with economy, through to First, and you’ll hit the jackpot if you re-suss flight or cabin crew.

    A colleague resuscitated a member of Cabin Crew who’d MI’d half way across the Atlantic en-route to a conference. On their next family flight they were upgraded to First.

    BBbetter 775 posts

    But l think it was avoiding Harare was the big positive. It did save them 1000’s not diverting.

    This is a good point. People claiming BA didnt gain anything!

    BBbetter 775 posts

    All the more bizarre was that they gave you a bottle of champagne whilst your wife was suffering from low blood sugar “could I have a biscuit instead please”.

    This surprised me as well! Surely a medical professional knows some food with sugar is usually available on the plane?

    BP 51 posts

    I know a Dr who stepped up to help on a Virgin flight. He was offered a business upgrade for the rest of the flight and when he declined he was given a stack of miles instead – enough for a replacement flight as I understand it.

    simonjones 86 posts

    My brother was ex cabin crew for virgin , they always used to give a free flight (voucher) or equivalent in miles for a free flight on there network in economy , if the flight was saved from diverting which obviously costs the airline more money due to the medical case being resolved or could wait until landing , premium economy or business would be given

    can2 575 posts

    This surprised me as well! Surely a medical professional knows some food with sugar is usually available on the plane?

    In my understanding, blood sugar fluctuations can happen rapidly and unexpectedly, especially when one is pregnant.
    Patient-blaming, assuming that OP is truthful, is not a constructive way of resolving this debate.

    can2 575 posts

    Interesting to contrast with Lufthansa’s approach – https://www.lufthansa.com/ao/en/doctor-on-board

    You sign up in advance, they check your credentials, issue some bonus miles, then cabin crew know what doctors they have on board + what speciality

    I’d bet no american doctor would sign up for it for liability/insurance reasons, even if Lufthansa says otherwise. It is a big ask to “sign up” for it and make it “official”.

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    Yes I thought some American doctors might hesitate due to insurance reasons.

    But in the case of Lufthansa’s way of doing it, ISTR Germany has a “Good Samaritan” law applying to everyone on the road – if you see an accident you are required to stop and give assistance. Presumably with that trusty First Aid kit any vehicle in Germany is required to carry.

    It’s not too far a stretch to guess that perhaps in Germany doctors are bound by a similar law (beyond the ethics that make me think most doctors would help anyway), that requires they assist if they are present at an incident even “off-duty”. And that perhaps that applies to flights at least on German aircraft.

    Cat 126 posts

    I think there’s a similar law in France, @Lady London.

    It strikes me that the patient was incredibly lucky, in this instance, that there was a doctor on board who hadn’t quaffed a couple of glasses of Champagne (or Japanese whisky) already.

    I agree that the decent thing for BA to do would be to show their appreciation with some miles, at a minimum, especially given that the pregnant doctor worked to the point of her own exhaustion, and was not given food by the crew.

    polly 300 posts

    @AJA
    Don’t think they had much choice of diverting apart from Harare. Flying over central Africa that long ago. The no 1 as they were called in those days was very skilled. He had been promoted to no 1, due to his years of A&E work. He and l were both A&E trained and experienced, so we both agreed, as vitals were at minimum stable. We said, under pressure, l might add from both the pilot and the elderly couple! To chance carrying on to JNB. Yes, you are correct, diversion is usually the first option, but also the pilots must weigh up on balance each individual circumstance. This patient did not want to be in hospital in Harare. That’s the crux of the story, reading between the lines, am afraid.
    But, my point being, BA did recognise my effort in sending us home in F. Plus the champers.

    AJA 1,128 posts

    @polly thanks for replying. Very interesting. My OH is a doctor, now retired, specialising in rheumatology but has the training to do emergency treatment. Every time we board a plane we wonder if something may happen requiring assistance. And i always wonder if we may get diverted as a result. Always assumed the pilot made the decision to divert if necessary and didn’t rely on the opiniom of the doctor. Hence my question.

    Only time so far was a very elderly patient across the aisle from us on a flight back from Lisbon and the passenger was travelling back to the UK for urgent treatment for his condition and had trouble breathing despite having his own oxygen tank. Fortunately was breathing just well enough on his own but we did wonder if he might not make it. Actually provided more reassurance to his very worried elderly wife who was panicking a bit as it was a last minute trip booked because they thought they’d get better treatment in the UK than in Portugal where they lived.

    But in our previous home we lived in a block of flats and one evening one of our elderly neighbours collapsed on the ground floor, She slipped and broke her hip, as it turned out, and my OH was summoned to help. We spent several hours with her on a Saturday evening waiting for the ambulance to turn up.

    Other residents were always stopping my OH to ask about their various ailments and whether there was a better treatment available.

    JenT 159 posts

    Most airlines now use MedLink to help pilots decide when it’s appropriate to divert and if so, where the best place to go is (for the plane as well as the medical emergency). Long gone are the days of a volunteer doctor leading that decision making process. MedLink services

    As far as the medical equipment on board, similar stories have appeared in the media where doctors think the kit bag on board could be improved. Definitely worth trying to contact the airline about this, though may be difficult.

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