Family thanks passengers, crew who saved dad on flight
Joanie Connell said her parents were flying to Florida when he was found unconscious when a flight attendant tried to take his drink order
By Donita Naylor
The Providence Journal
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The family of a Southwest passenger whose life was saved Dec. 19 on a flight from Rhode Island to Tampa, Florida, wants to thank everyone involved.
The family especially hopes that the doctor who came forward when flight attendants asked for medical help will come forward again so they can thank her personally.
An email from Joanie Connell, whose father was the man found unconscious on Southwest Flight 1965, said her parents had been flying to visit a daughter who lives near Tampa.
Once seated, their father told their mother that he felt in need of a nap, which wasn't unusual, Connell said. A flight attendant trying to take his drink request, however, found that he was unconscious.
Neither the flight attendant nor his supervisor could find a pulse, so they asked for help from anyone with a medical license.
The doctor, assisted by flight attendants and nearby passengers, gave the man oxygen and determined that he needed a hospital. The plane descended quickly to Baltimore, and an ambulance took the couple to Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland.
Tests showed he had pneumonia and had passed out from lack of oxygen. He was released Friday night and the couple returned by car to Rhode Island on Sunday.
"All are now safe at home, and the pneumonia is on the mend," Connell said in a Facebook post.
"We are grateful to everyone who helped our father-husband-grandfather live to enjoy the holidays. He would have died if the flight attendants and doctor hadn't taken care of him. We also thank the passengers on that flight, who so patiently accepted the 4-hour delay that saved his life — and respectfully kept their phones off."
One Southwest flight attendant, Rhonda Wade, wrote in an email that she and her colleagues are carefully trained as first responders. Passenger safety, not serving drinks, is their primary responsibility, she said.
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