Med student saves life on plane

A University of Leeds medical student found himself  at the centre of an airline medical drama last week, as he rushed to the aid of an elderly passenger who went into a severe seizure on the runway.

Luke McMenamin, who is currently in his final year of study, was returning home to Belfast to attend a family funeral when he heard a flight attendant ask if there was a doctor on board the plane.

Mr McMenamin, 23, said, ‘I thought here we go. I looked around, sweeping my eyes around thinking to myself ‘there’ll be somebody here’, but nobody stood up,” he said. “She asked again so I thought ‘I’m going to have to do something here’

Under pressure from the close attention being paid to his actions by his fellow passengers, Mr McMenamin examined the patient and decided that they needed hospital treatment as soon as possible. However, with any potential ambulance at least 20 minutes away due to a drivers strike, Mr McMenamin knew he had to act.

An on board medical bag, containing basic oxygen and medical drips was provided, and the student proceeded to insert a drip into the patients arm.
Mr McMenamin  added ‘I was thinking to myself, ‘Of all days, do not miss this vein!’ The pressure was on, but I got it in thankfully.’

Soon afterwards paramedics arrived and the patient was taken to hospital. Mr McMenamin, who is set to graduate in August, was praised by the medical staff who arrived on the scene

Speaking after the incident he said, ‘You read all the books and practice on the ward, but it was just amazing whenever no one else was there, you had to just get into gear and just do it. So it was quite rewarding to think that I must be doing all right and if I keep this up I should hopefully qualify.’


Greg Whitaker

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