Rookie nurse hailed hero for saving woman on flight

Posted: Updated:

A rookie nurse is being lauded as a hero after she helped save the life of a passenger onboard her flight.

Courtney Donlon has been a professional nurse for only nine months.

While she was on her flight back from a trip to Las Vegas, she says that a flight attendant asked over the PA system whether there were any medical professionals on board the plane.

“I thought it was a dream, but they said overhead, ‘if there are any medical professionals’ and I stood up,” Donlon says.

A 57-year-old woman on the flight was presenting symptoms of a cardiac incident , according to Donlon.

“She says she had a shooting pain up her left arm that goes up around her neck and down her shoulder blade,” Donlon recounts.

The nurse says that she then grabbed a defibrillator on the plane, just in case, and began treating the woman with items at her disposal.

“What I had available to me was oxygen, and I was pretty sure I could get aspirin on the plane,” she says, noting the blood-thinning qualities of chewed aspirin that help when someone is having a cardiac incident.

Donlon says that she was able to convince the pilot to land the plane at the nearest airport, which was in Charleston. The patient was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover.

Being a medical professional seems to run in Donlon’s family. Her mother and sister are nurses, and another sister is studying to be a nurse.

“I’m very proud of her,” says her mother Renee Donlon. “I felt she was definitely prepared to do her job.”

Donlon says that she is hoping to hear how the woman is doing, and is just thankful she could help.

"I also felt it was a timing thing,” she says. “I was at the right place at the right time.”

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