UPDATED at 8.20pm: to include additional comments from Ancy Philip
A critical care nurse at Hamad Medical Corporation‘s (HMC) Heart Hospital has been praised for her heroic efforts after she helped save the life of a man who suffered a stroke during a flight to Qatar.
Staff nurse Ancy Philip was on an Air India flight from Cochin back to Doha with her family when, shortly after take-off, there was an appeal on the public address system asking for assistance from medical personnel on board.
From where she was sitting in the rear of the plane, Philip could see an incident taking place at the front. She volunteered to help and when she got there, she observed a man who was unconscious, breathless and without a pulse.
As she was assessing the 50-year-old Indian national, she was joined by a male emergency nurse from a Dubai hospital, and together the two began attempting to resuscitate the patient.
Philip told Doha News that when she assessed the patient, she realized he had probably had a stroke.
“We spent 40 minutes resuscitating the man, using an Ambu bag to help his breathing and administering chest compressions.
“Then, the patient started to regain some consciousness and he could speak enough to tell us his name and where he was from, although his speech was very difficult to understand.
“He was very ill and I asked the pilot to make an emergency landing. We had very little equipment on board. We did the best with what there was, but he needed to get to hospital urgently.”
The plane was turned around and headed back to Cochin International Airport. Back on the ground, a doctor who came on board and the man was quickly transferred by the airport emergency ambulance to a specialist hospital in Cochin for treatment.
A day’s work
Speaking about the incident, which took place in February 2012 but the details of which HMC has only now made public, Philip has played down her heroic efforts, insisting that actions were just part of what is expected of anyone in her profession.
“As soon as I saw the man, I was totally focused on trying to save his life. I see patients like him every day, so I knew what we needed to do.
“It was difficult. There were no other doctors or equipment like in the hospital. It was just me and the other nurse doing our best.
“I wasn’t nervous. I was strong and calm. I was just concentrating on this man. I totally forgot about my husband and my small children, and the 300 passengers on the plane who were all watching us,” she told Doha News.
After the incident, Philip said the crew and passengers congratulated the nurses for their efforts.
“They told us we did a great job. But I didn’t do anything special. I just did what I do every day in hospital.”
In a statement issued by HMC, Philip said she felt it was the duty of nurses to save lives not only as part of their job but also in daily life.
She has since been commended by her bosses and colleagues at the Heart Hospital for her life-saving efforts.
In return, Philip credited her training and experience in helping her to keep a cool head while dealing with such difficult situations:
“As nurses at HMC, we are regularly involved in administering lifesaving and emergency treatments.
We get up and go to work every day expecting to deal with high-stress situations that require us to act quickly when providing effective care. We are prepared to deal with medical emergencies under any circumstances,” she said.
Qatar’s 116-bed Heart Hospital is next to Al Rumailah Hospital and opened in 2011 to provide care in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery for adults in Qatar.
Its facilities include a 20-bed Coronary Care Unit, and a 12-bed cardio-thoracic intensive care unit (ICU), in addition to 60 single rooms, three operating theaters and specialist laboratories.
Expansion plans are currently afoot to help the hospital cope with the state’s burgeoning population.
This will include doubling capacity in the emergency department and adding a dedicated cardiac magnetic resonance imaging facility, according to the hospital’s website.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect that the incident took place in 2012.