December 7, 2022

NC Nurse Helps Save Life of Patient on Las Vegas Flight

NC Nurse Helps Save Life of Patient on Las Vegas Flight

Image source: Kassondra Josey/Facebook

Kassondra Josey may have thought she had seen it all after graduating nursing school in 2020 right before the pandemic hit, but she soon learned that nurses are never quite off duty during a recent flight home from Las Vegas. 

While flying home with her husband from a fun family trip, Josey—who is a nurse at Atrium Health Lincoln in North Carolina—looked up from the movie she had been watching when her husband nudged her about a call for medical personnel. According to Atrium Health’s recounting of the tale, Josey initially hesitated to go help because she saw a doctor with a bag heading to help. But when she offered her assistance, the doctor did not hesitate and willingly accepted her help. 

“A doctor stood up, so I sat tight for a minute,” she said. “When I saw him run to the front of the plane for his bag, I knew it was serious. I told him I was a nurse and asked if he needed any help. He immediately said, ‘Yes!’”

Quick-Thinking Nurse 

Josey and the doctor attended to the male patient who needed assistance and was unresponsive, with no clear medical conditions or history available. However, his vitals were unstable, according to reports of the incident, so it was clear that medical intervention was needed. While still 30,000 feet in the air, the quick-thinking nurse got to work. 

The flight crew quickly made plans for an emergency landing at a nearby airport while Josey made a plan. Thanks to medical supplies available on the plane, she had access to some IV equipment and was able to maneuver into the aisle to place an IV—without a tourniquet and while the plane was encountering some rough turbulence as it rerouted for an emergency landing. It’s clear that both her two-and-a-half years of work at Atrium and working through a pandemic prepared her for even an unexpected nursing emergency. 

And because nurses always go above and beyond, after another patient fell ill, Josey also was able to help that passenger while still attending to the original sick passenger. She was so busy with her nursing duties that she remained in the aisle and braced for impact when the plane landed. 

Fortunately, the plane was able to land and Josey and the ill patients were unharmed during the quick landing. The IV Josey placed was able to get the patient the necessary fluids and after EMS took over, deliver medications as well. She received a report later that the patient was stable at a nearby hospital. 

Image source: Kassondra Josey/Facebook

Expressing Thanks

Despite all she had been through herself on the flight, Josey expressed gratitude that she was able to be there when a patient needed help—even if she hadn’t exactly been “on call” during what she thought was just a flight home from vacation. 

“No one gets on a plane expecting someone to need dire assistance,” Josey recalled. “I’m thankful for the positive outcome.”

She also told a local media outlet that the incident was a good reminder to her of why she went into healthcare in the first place. She was inspired to become a nurse after witnessing a loved one need emergency medical attention. Except, in that situation, she had been younger, not a nurse, and felt unable to help. “I went into health care so if I ever came across a life-or-death situation again, I would have the knowledge and skills to be able to help more than I did when I was a teenager,” she explained.

We would have to say that she certainly displayed both the knowledge and skills to help in this situation! And comments on Atrium Health’s social media post describing the incident poured in, praising the nurse’s actions and selflessness. (I mean, let’s be honest: she could have very well continued with her movie and no one would have been the wiser.)


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