Cardiac nurse saves heart-attack patient in mid-air flight drama

Cardiac nurse saves heart-attack patient in mid-air flight drama

Julie Holroyd, Cardiac Consultant Nurse.jpg
Julie Holroyd, Cardiac Consultant Nurse

A cardiac consultant nurse leapt into action when a passenger suffered a heart attack during a flight to Sri Lanka.

Julie Holroyd works as a Cardiac Consultant Nurse at Peterborough City Hospital and booked a holiday to Sri Lanka with her husband Paul, but her getaway quickly changed into an emergency situation half way through the 11-hour night flight when the cabin crew asked for medical assistance.

Julie quickly assessed the patient’s condition and it was apparent that he was having a heart attack. With limited medication and equipment, she quickly administered pain relief, IV fluids and tried to increase his blood pressure, but the flight had to continue with five hours still left on the journey before reaching Sri Lanka.

She said: “There were two doctors on the flight, but their experience was as a paediatric oncologist and orthopaedic doctor. I was the most qualified to deal with the situation but they offered moral support.”

Julie stayed by her patient’s side on the floor of the galley area for five hours and reassured his wife throughout the situation before handing over the reins to the emergency medical team in Sri Lanka where they confirmed the heart attack before transferring him to a local hospital.

She said: “I had an obligation that day and I knew that I was experienced enough to be able to diagnose the symptoms, but it is daunting without the equipment and your team around you. Knowing the best treatment for a heart attack is to have an angiogram as soon as possible after the symptoms start, the pressure is on you to make sure that you do everything you can to help until the plane is able to land.”

Julie is now looking forward to her next break a little closer to home in Tuscany with her husband. 

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