Dr. Patricia Quinlan Saves Man On Flight

December 3, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Dr. Patricia Quinlan saves a man on a flight by thinking outside of the box. Dr. Patricia Quinlan has been given the title “Dr. Angel” after she used whiskey, a hair tie, and tape to save a man, who had fallen ill at 35,000 feet.

quinlan saves man on flight

Dr. Patricia Quinlan saves a man on a flight and is awarded the title “Dr. Angel” for doing an outstanding job. On Thanksgiving Day, Dr. Patricia Quinlan boarded a United Airlines Flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco where the passenger across the aisle from her lost consciousness and fell out of his seat. Quinlan and her family were heading to Seattle to spend the holidays with her relatives.

Quinlan, who works at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Network based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, first assumed the man was just sleeping, but when he failed to wake up, she jumped to action. Like Angus MacGyver, Dr. Patricia Quinlan used little things she found on the plane to create a first-aid kit to save the man.

Upon the realization that the 59-year-old man, whose name has not been revealed, had an irregular pulse, and his blood pressure was dangerously low, Quinlan requested the plane’s automated external defibrillator. The bright physician used the defibrillator to determine that the man had a normal heart rhythm and concluded there was no blockage.

The next step was to get the man connected to an IV, but she encountered several problems. Another passenger offered his belt as a tourniquet for the IV, but it was too large, prompting Quinlan to use her hair tie instead. It was not possible to find alcohol to disinfect the IV needle, so a flight attendant doused it with whiskey from the bar cart.

Once the IV bag was up, they discovered a leak, another passenger gave her masking tape to resolve that matter. With the help of a pediatric intensive care unit nurse and an emergency medical technician, who also happened to be on the flight, Quinlan began administering intravenous fluid to the man.

The health experts were also helped by other passengers, who used the light on their phones and tablets to illuminate the area. It was later revealed that the man, who was heading to China, had taken blood pressure medicine and was probably dehydrated. In an interview, Quinlan explained:

“The pilot asked if we needed to make an emergency landing in Chicago,” Quinlan told the Morning Call. “If I hadn’t had [the defibrillator], I would have said yes.”

She added:

“The IV bag had a little leak in it, so a woman found masking tape in her pocketbook and we taped it up,”

Quinlan, who was given the title “Dr. Angel” by the passengers, concluded by:

“It took us about 90 minutes to get him upright. We’d lift him a little and he’d pass out again. I think he was just probably very, very dehydrated. And he had taken blood pressure medicine that morning.”

The grateful man was able to walk off the plane when it landed in San Francisco. At the airport, the pilot insisted on carrying her luggage.


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