Three Jacksonville-based medical professionals rescued a man having a heart attack during a flight to Puerto Rico.
Eddie Barroso Perez, 73, was headed back home to Puerto Rico for Christmas when he started feeling unwell with chest pain and low blood pressure.
“I flick the lights on, we call the captain, and then we page for medical assistance on board,” Frontier Airlines flight attendant, Pamela Jones said.
The flight attendants followed their training by immediately going into medical mode. Luckily for everyone, there were two doctors on the flight and an ER nurse practitioner. They all spoke Spanish, which is Perez’s first language.
The team worked together to help save Perez’s life at the front of the plane.
Mayo Clinic Doctor Raul Rosario-Concepcion was one of the medical professionals on the flight who helped save Perez’s life. A month later, News4JAX connected him with his impromptu patient, who’s now recovering at his daughter’s home in Lake City.
“He took really good care of me on the plane,” Perez said as he was happy to see one of the people who helped save his life.
Rosario-Concepcion said having to spring into action while on vacation is something that you can’t predict, but he’s always ready to help in any way that he can.
He also humbly credited the other medical professionals and flight attendants who helped as the team gave Perez oxygen and raised his legs.
“He was feeling a little bit better with the oxygen and the blood pressure, and his pulse started to get better too. So we were able to stabilize him a little bit in his symptoms,” Rosario-Concepcion said.
Paramedics met them at the gate at landing and rushed him to a hospital in San Juan where his daughter said doctors told her that her father had a slight heart attack.
“I just want to thank you for taking care of my dad. Without you angels in the sky, I don’t know what we would have done,” Elaine Clemons, Perez’s daughter said.
Angels in the sky, soaring at 40,000 feet, not just the doctors but the flight crew including Jones.
“All I could do was pray, and just continue to do everything that I knew to do,” Jones said. “Our crew was wonderful. Each one of us took our part, one talked to the captain, one stayed with the patient, one gathered the information that was needed, and one stayed with the cabin, to make sure that the cabin was good.”
Now a plane full of strangers has a special connection – and Perez – is filled with gratitude.
“Nobody knows what was going to happen. They saved my life,” Perez said.
News4JAX contacted Fronter and a spokesperson said:
We’re very proud of Pamela and her fellow crew members for their good work to support our customer during his medical emergency. Airline crews are thoroughly trained for such circumstances and every day there are heroes among them.
Perez said he plans to fly again.