Aisle in full airplane
Credit: Roberto Westbrook/Getty Images

Even though air travel is one of the safest modes of transportation, that doesn’t mean an issue can’t pop up unexpectedly.

Linda Reilman, a doctor based in Ohio, was on board a flight from Hawaii to Dallas in May when a member of the crew announced they were looking for someone with medical training to assist them.

“About two hours into the flight, everyone was sleeping, all the lights came on and they made an announcement,” Reilman told the Hamilton Journal-News.

Two rows in front of her, Reilman joined a nurse and EMT who were also on the flight. A 72-year-old man had passed out in his seat. According to the man’s wife, he had a history of heart problems, but he was not experiencing any issues before he passed out.

The plane was over two hours from land and was unable to make an immediate emergency landing.

“The patient was ashen gray and unconscious,” Reilman said. The team laid him out in the aisles in order to help resuscitate him. She and the other medical professionals started the man on IV fluids and he woke up after about an hour.

“It really seemed like he was more dehydrated and just very stressed from rushing around during the day getting prepared for travel,” Reilman said.

The flight landed in Dallas around its scheduled arrival time of 6 a.m., and the man received further medical care. Reilman told the Hamilton Journal-News that his case serves as a reminder for everyone to take care of themselves when they’re traveling: “You should make sure you have eaten, and you are hydrated and because your legs are down for six to eight hours and the seat hits the back of your legs, you should move around and stretch.”