Great Training Calms Mile-High Medical Emergency

Carol Gugerty told me this story to highlight the benefits of the excellent education program for employees.  She asked that we tell the story to praise the great teachers and trainers–I’m adding a pat on the back for Carol too.
– Dave

     Carol Gugerty, Chief Nursing Officer, recently returned from a trip out west where she took some well-deserved time off.  On her flight out, about an hour after leaving Chicago, a flight attendant came over the intercom and asked if there was a doctor or nurse onboard.  Carol flagged down the attendant and offered to help with whatever situation they had.  Carol was joined by a radiologist, a rookie nurse, and another older nurse.  A passenger was slumped in her seat, pale, and minimally-responsive.  Carol took the lead as the medical folks and the flight attendants worked together to lay the passenger on the ground and assess the situation.  Carol asked if the airplane had an automated external defibrillator (AED) onboard, they did, and Carol put it into action.  She attached the AED leads to the patient and allowed the device to analyze the patient’s heartbeat.  
     “It was a nerve-racking experience, but the whole time, I could just hear Dean Rhodes explaining how to use the AED and what to do next.  In that moment, I was so glad to have been part of all those training sessions,” Carol said.
      Thankfully, the passenger had a stable heartbeat and the AED didn’t need to deliver a shock.  Carol knew that if the situation deteriorated, they’d need to do CPR.
“I knew that I could only last about 5 minutes doing compressions, so I lined up the other nurses and doctor and we set a line-up in case we needed to begin CPR,” said Carol, “We were lucky that things didn’t get to the point of CPR, but we were ready for anything.”  
     Carol again credited the educators and trainers at KSB Hospital, saying, “Teresa Strum does such a great job training folks in CPR.  I felt pressure and nerves, but I knew that the training was so ingrained in me that I could do the right thing despite the distractions.  To feel educated and prepared is such a relief.”
     Carol and the makeshift medical crew gave the passenger oxygen, monitored vital signs, and made the decision that immediate medical attention was needed.  The flight attendants briefed the pilot on the situation and they decided to divert the flight to the nearest airport.  The airplane made an emergency landing at the Kansas City International Airport.
     “They told us they’d make an emergency landing and that it might be bumpy as we touched down.  We helped stabilize the passenger during the landing, while trying to maintain our own balance.  As we landed, there were ambulances and firetrucks and emergency personnel waiting on the runway for us,” Carol said, “They boarded the plane with a stretcher and took the passenger to a local hospital.”
     Carol showed that excellent patient care isn’t an on-the-clock practice, it’s a personal commitment. Her story also reminds us that you never know when you might be called on to share your medical expertise.  We’re fortunate to have such great training staff and employee educators.
If you’d like to brush up on your CPR training, 
contact Dean Rhodes at x5609 or email
  • Grace Crowe
    Posted at 15:12h, 25 February Reply

    Great job to Carol for taking the lead and helping in the medical needs of that passenger!

    Great job Dean for being a great instructor and resource for our staff. It is in situations like this that it is truly needed.

  • Miriam Blackburn
    Posted at 02:36h, 02 March Reply

    Great job Carolduring a stressful situation you maintained your professional attitude & skills.

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