I recently experienced a very real and scary moment that made me realize how lucky I am to be able to curate a life to align as a mom, a clinician and an educator…
I ask myself on a daily basis, how am I doing and am I being successful raising two girls, practicing women’s health at a super busy OBGYN practice and running Nested? Once you become a parent (whether biological, foster or adoptive) the workload, and, frankly, sometimes everyday life responsibilities, seem insurmountable.
Many life alternating moments, such as getting married, becoming coupled, having a baby or even experiencing a significant loss, gives us the opportunity to stop, recalibrate and figure out what really matters. I recently experienced a very real and scary moment that made me realize how lucky I am to be able to curate a life to align as a mom, a clinician and an educator…
After a wonderful visit with one of my closest friends in the world who is living in Brussels, Belgium, my daughters and I crumpled wearily into our airplane seats to fly home. I was hoping to take a short nap since my girls were settled in and occupied by their books and music on our first leg of our trip back to the US via Dublin, Ireland.
Shortly after takeoff, I overheard a flight attendant asking if a doctor was present to help with a passenger in distress. Despite my weariness and given my oath to medicine, I immediately notified the flight attendant that I was a physician assistant in the US and offered to be of help any way that I could to the passenger in distress.
The passenger, a man splayed across all a row of 3 seats, was ghost white, sweating profusely and had passed out. With the help of the flight attendants and his wife (providing his medical history), I was able to resuscitate him and start supplemental oxygen on the plane. His wife shared with me that he had run to the gate, started feeling chest pain, shortness of breath and that he felt his heart was beating irregularly. He had a history of atrial fibrillation, and had a procedure done the year before that remedied it. Unfortunately, something was going on and his heart was not pacing normally which was causing him to feel lightheaded. Without being able to get a radial pulse and only a faint and irregular carotid pulse, I sat him up and directed him to do medical maneuvers in an attempt to regulate his heart rhythm. The pilot asked me if an emergency landing in 10 minutes was absolutely needed, or if the passenger could make it to Dublin which was 25 minutes away, and the passenger’s hometown. The pilot reassured us that upon landing, paramedics would be ready to come onboard to assist and transport him to the hospital immediately. Whereas an emergency landing meant that we would be at a small airport and medical resources may not be readily available. At this point, the passenger was conscious and I was discussing the options with his wife. His wife was tearful and yet was strong for her little girls who were crying.
With my continued monitoring of the passenger along with the oxygenation and medical maneuvers, the crew and I decided it would be best to land in Dublin. My heart was pounding and I was running on pure adrenaline while I was trying to keep the passenger conscious, and reassure his very worried and tear-filled wife and little girls. Upon landing, he was better but still experiencing an arrhythmia the paramedics rushed onto the plane, EKG placed, and SVTs and atrial fibrillation was noted. The paramedics requested that I stay to help read the EKG, stabilize him going onto the stretcher and to relay the pertinent medical information to the medical doctors awaiting him at the hospital.
I was grateful for the very kind crew who continued to check on my daughters, Seva and Leela, and let them know what was going on. They also notified the airline to hold the plane for our connecting flight until we arrived at the gate because I was helping a passenger with a medical emergency.
With tears in our eyes, I hugged the little girls and their mom and told them everything would be okay. While I was busy helping the paramedics, my incredibly independent and strong daughters had packed up our stuff, including our passports, and figured out our next gate. The pilot and crew of our flight were truly amazing, and escorted us as we raced to our connecting flight. My heart still racing, the hugs and handshakes at that point were a blur as we boarded our flight back to the US.
A few days later, his wife sent me a lovely email letting me know that her husband received treatment, was discharged from the hospital, and that her family “will be forever grateful for your help during that disastrous time. You are a hero in our hearts. Bless you abundantly!”
The memories from this vacation will always be cherished by us. It was a wonderful visit with our dear friends in Brussels, and it was an unforgettable trip home because of the very stressful and gratefully successful medical emergency that I was able to assist with. Because the passenger received the proper and necessary medical care both during and after the flight at the hospital, he is able to celebrate the holidays with his beautiful family.
This experience was so very impactful for me and for my daughters, and a reminder to me that because of my background as a physician assistant, an educator and a mom, I was able to help this family. This holiday season especially, I feel so incredibly fortunate to have my family, friends and our Nested team.
From all of us here at Nested, we wish you and your family a Healthy & Happy New Year!
Nidhi Reva | Founder & Managing Director and Instructor
Nidhi Reva’s passion for working with underserved populations inspired Nested’s mission of empowerment through education. Nested LLC’s mission is to empower women and their families, both locally and abroad, by providing them with childbirth and newborn care education as well as invaluable medical and public health resources.