Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90
El Al plane taking off at Ben Gurion Airport.

Passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 141 from Tel Aviv to Chigaco last Thursday were in for a surprise when not one, but two medical emergencies occurred on board the plane during the flight across Europe and the Atlantic ocean.

The flight took off at 1:00 a.m. and shortly after departure a 60-year-old man lost consciousness and collapsed, suffering an injury to his face in the process. The flight attendants called for a medical practitioner to assist and United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yisrael Kahan, who happened to be on the flight, rushed to the man’s aid as did a physician who works in the pediatric ward in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.


Together with the physician, Yisrael treated the man, bandaged his injuries, and managed to stabilize his condition. As the pair were still helping the man and monitoring his condition, a woman in her early 20s complained to one of the flight crew members that she was feeling faint.

The crew alerted Yisrael and the doctor to the second emergency. Once again, the pair of rescuers teamed up to provide the necessary care and stabilize the woman’s condition. They quickly assessed the woman’s condition and found that she was suffering from dehydration and required an infusion of fluids and medication. They administered an IV and made sure that her vitals stayed within safe ranges for the duration of the flight.

Yisrael, who is experienced in field treatment, always brings his own medical equipment in a small trauma kit with him when traveling. In addition to the medical equipment that was available on the plane, the volunteer used the equipment from his trauma kit to treat both of the passengers.

“It was a special experience to be able to help save someone on a plane,” the EMT recounted after landing. “I’m glad I happened to be on the same flight to Chicago as the people who need help and that I was able to stabilize and monitor their condition. The lifesaving mission of United Hatzalah volunteers doesn’t end at Israel’s borders, we always try to help everyone in need.”

Thanks to the efforts of Yisrael and the doctor, both patients received the care they needed to stay healthy throughout the flight and no emergency landing was required.


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