Woman on plane saved by 15 cardiologists

Arifa Akbar
Thursday 01 January 2004 01:00 GMT

If you fall ill on a flight, you have to hope there is a doctor on board. So Dorothy Fletcher can count herself lucky.

When she suffered a heart attack on a transatlantic flight from Manchester to Florida, she turned out to be on a plane full of cardiologists.

Fifteen experts on their way to a cardiology conference responded when a stewardess asked for medical assistance.

They stood up en masse and rushed to save Mrs Fletcher, 67, from Liverpool. They fed drips into her arms and used an onboard medical kit to control the life-threatening attack.

The plane was diverted to North Carolina, where Mrs Fletcher was treated in the intensive care unit.

The grandmother had been travelling with her daughter to attend her daughter's wedding when she experienced acute chest pains. Speaking from her home in Liverpool yesterday, Mrs Fletcher recalled: "I couldn't believe what happened. All these people came rushing down the aircraft towards me. The doctors were wonderful. They saved my life.

"My daughter was with me and you can imagine how she felt when all these doctors stood up. I wish I could thank them but I have no idea who they were, other than that they were going to a conference in Orlando."

She spent two days in the Charlotte Medical Centre after the heart attack on 7 November, but managed to attend the wedding at Lake Berkeley, Kissimmee, the following week.

Her daughter, Christine Penman, 32, who married her fiancé Gareth, said: "2003 was my best and almost my worst of years. We'll see in the new year by giving thanks that my mum got through what she did.

"We owe those cardiologists and the airline so much. My mum wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for those doctors but in the rush, we didn't even know any of their names - and we still don't."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in