A Letterkenny-based paramedic who saved a man’s life during a flight has been rewarded with 25,000 air miles from airline officials who have commended him for his heroic actions.
Gerry McGowan was on a flight from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok with Etihad Airlines when, on his return from the bathroom, he noticed quite a commotion taking place on the flight. Concerned, he decided to investigate further. He was taken aback when he was told that a passenger had been pronounced dead.
Gerry immediately asked for a defibrillator which he was quickly handed. Years of experience came to the fore as Gerry began to resuscitate the man. Those on the flight were well aware that without the defibrillator and Gerry’s immediate intervention, the man may have become a statistic. The man, who spoke no English, recovered on board the flight. Gerry, who was flying first class, offered him his bed for the remainder of the flight.
Gerry, who has worked with the ambulance service in Letterkenny since 1980, said: “It all happened on a flight from Bangkok to Abu Dabi.
“The man was in his 50s and diabetic. His blood sugar was at 28 and I knew that in a situation like that the person could go into cardiac arrest. CPR was carried out and the defibrillator was used and it worked.
“When we could, we handed the man over to the doctor.
“When you work with an ambulance service, situations like this arise from time to time,” he said.
When the flight grounded in Bangkok, the man was able to walk from the flight and into the care of a medical team who were waiting for the flight to arrive. This week, Gerry was delighted to discover that Etihad Airlines had written to him. In the correspondence, in which Gerry was referred to as Dr. McGowan, he was awarded 25,000 air miles for his sterling work.
Yesterday morning a good friend said: “Gerry received an e-mail from Etihad Airlines about his life-saving work this week.
“The company commended him for his work mid-flight and for saving the man’s life.
“Gerry said that they had everything on the flight that an EMT would ever want.
“The man was able to walk off the flight to the medical team that were waiting for him.
“It is an amazing story and it is one that should be told.”