Radio host and conservative author Todd Starnes was sitting in the front of a Delta airliner earlier this month on a flight from Dallas to New York City when he watched “a miracle” unfold.
“It must have been terrifying, but there was such a calm atmosphere on board,” Starnes told Faithwire of the Oct. 6 trip. “The Lord was clearly in control.”
One of his fellow passengers was having a heart attack at 30,000 feet.
A flight attendant said over the intercom that the woman needed a doctor. Staff members soon learned there were five doctors on board — including a cardiologist. The heart doctor needed a way to monitor the impromptu patient’s vitals. There was a man on the flight, it turned out, who had an app on his phone to do just that.
Passengers began to relax again, but then another request filtered through the speaker system, Starnes recalled. The cardiologist needed a particular heart medication to give the woman. It just so happened Starnes had the exact medication she needed with him because he had rushed to the airport earlier that day and stuffed his prescriptions into his carry-on bag.
Starnes knew all too well what the ailing woman was going through. In 2005, at just 37 years old, the radio host underwent open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve with a mechanical valve.
“As a cardiac patient,” he said, “you do think about what would happen if you had an episode on a plane or driving down the highway.”
Once the pilot was alerted to what was happening in the cabin, the airplane was diverted to Baltimore, where the woman was treated by paramedics on the ground.
A mere 45 minutes later, the rest of the travelers were on their way to New York City.
The harrowing incident reminded Starnes of our shared humanity, that there are still moments of hope in this troubled time when we link arms and work together toward a common good.
“Passengers in my section of the plane had actually stopped watching the television screens and they put down their smartphones to engage in what was happening,” he said. “They kept coming back and asking to see my medications and one guy marveled at the ‘coincidence.’ I remember telling him quietly, ‘No, sir. It’s not a coincidence. It’s God.’