A podiatrist came to a man’s aid aboard a flight recently, trusting his own skills and potentially saving his fellow passenger’s life.
It happened on a flight from Reno, Nevada to Chicago, Illinois. A man fell unconscious and podiatrist Michael Nirenbreg was one of the only people on board with medical training. He quickly took action with the help of a retired nurse who was also on board.
The two assessed the man’s condition and began CPR treatment while the flight was rerouted to make an emergency landing nearby.
Nirenberg told the Good News Network that he’d made sure to stay CPR certified over the years but hadn’t had to use his training until now, saying:
“After almost 30 years of taking courses to re-certify in CPR, this was the first time I needed to use it.”
By that point, the airline had a doctor on the ground communicating with Nirenberg and the nurse and the key moment in the incident came when the two had to decide whether to listen to that doctor or to go with their own guts.
The airline’s doctor told them not to insert an IV but Nirenberg and the nurse chose to ignore him, giving the man fluids via an IV which lowered his blood pressure.
It was the right call.
“Frankly, the doctor on the phone was not there,” he told GNN. “The man’s life was all on me. I had to go with my instincts.”
It was also a lucky coincidence that Nirenberg was on the flight at all, as he told GNN he was meant to be traveling a day later.
“I was flying back a day early from [a medical conference] so I could drive my 18-year-old-son off to his first year of university. Normally, I would have stayed until Friday. So it was really a miracle that I was on the flight on Thursday.”
According to the Facebook Page of Nirenberg’s podiatry practice, his staff surprised him with a “Superman” cake after hearing about his heroic exploits and American Airlines also sent a letter thanking him for his help and giving him 25,000 sky miles.
Hopefully his next flight will be a bit more relaxing.
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