Woman thanks retired firefighter-EMT who helped save her during flight

Debbie Taylor was on her way home when she collapsed six hours into the flight

By EMS1 Staff

TAMPA, Fla. — A woman who collapsed during a flight home from Vietnam reunited with a retired firefighter-EMT who helped save her.

FOX13 reported that Debbie Taylor was on a trip to Vietnam when she had to return home after becoming sick. Six hours into the flight, she collapsed.

Retired firefighter-EMT David Patrick jumped into action and said she was in “very grave condition.”

"To be honest, she looked dead,” Patrick said. “She had no color in her.”

Dr. J. Francis Turner helped Patrick treat Taylor, and said she was “essentially in shock, breathing very poorly, and cold and clammy.”

Patrick said she needed fluid, but only two IV bags were available, one of which had a leak.

The two were joined by three other doctors who spent five hours pumping oxygen into Taylor’s lungs.

"I think we all pretty much wrote her off, didn't have any hope for her,” Patrick said.

Taylor was taken off the plane for treatment after an emergency landing in Alaska, and woke up a few days later in a hospital with no brain damage.

Taylor’s daughter, Cheri Cowans, searched for the names of the people who saved her, but due to privacy reasons Delta Airlines was unable to release the information. However, thanks to social media and a radio broadcast, Cowans found Patrick, who lived in the same town as Taylor and was able to reunite with her.

"I think I had some angels on my shoulder that day, somebody didn't want me up there yet," Taylor said.


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