A pair of nurses and man who had only recently learned how to administer CPR recently saved the life of a man who lost consciousness on a Spirit Airlines flight from Detroit to Orlando. Passenger Jeff Kruger had been sitting behind the man when he noticed that he had stopped moving.
“He was completely unresponsive, head tilted, jaw open, not breathing properly,” Kruger said to WKMG-TV. “You could just tell something was wrong.”
Katherine Yombik, a Michigan-based nurse, was waiting for the flight to take off when she heard someone cry out for help. Knowing that she could provide potentially life-saving assistance, she jumped into action.
“Someone said ‘call 911,’ and we went back and the guy is unresponsive and [had] no pulse so we pulled him out and started CPR,” Yombik recalled.
Kruger hoisted the man up, knowing that he would have to put his new resuscitation skills to the test.
“Someone picked him up from that side, someone picked him up from the feet, got him from his seat to the ground,” Kruger explained. “As I went to start compressions there’s an EMT, yelling, who came forward, so my response was to get a defibrillator to the gentlemen as quickly as possible.”
When Yombik took over, resuming the chest compressions, she realized that the man wasn’t going to make it without a defibrillator shock.
“No pulse, so we did CPR for a couple minutes,” the nurse explained. “Got an AED, put the pads on, shocked him, got his pulse back.”
Another nurse on the flight, Susan Kneehouse, had grabbed hold of an automated external defibrillator and offered her assistance as well.
“He was in arrhythmia. He was gone and he didn’t have a pulse,” Kneehouse told Click on Detroit.
But despite the high stakes, this quick-thinking group got to work.
“It was really good, we worked as a team and got it done,” she said. “It just comes natural to you and I just gotta say — people just need to keep loving each other.”
Eventually, the man was revived. Passengers kept calm the whole time and cheered for the unidentified man has he was stretchered off the plane.
“The defibrillator brought him back and everyone started clapping,” passenger Nina Capusano told WKMG. “I think it’s really important to do what you can even if you’re not a medical professional to try and help someone because it’s the better thing to do and really nice.”
Kruger said he was amazed that there was not one moment of hesitation from the two nurses. He hopes the group’s heroic actions will inspire others to keep an eye out for those in need of help.
“It’s absolutely the right thing to do,” he said. “You have a chance to continue life and this is the only life that we have. How can you not?”
The nurses reminded people that learning the basics of CPR is absolutely essential.
“It’s so easy to learn, everyone should know CPR, and everyone should have an AED or at least know where there is an AED,” Yombik noted. “That’s really what saved his life.”
“Everybody who could help tried to help,” passenger Felipe Capusano told WKMG. “Everybody was surreal on how calm it was, actually.”
The man was rushed to Metro Detroit Hospital and is still recovering from the serious health scare.