Indian nurse travelling to receive ‘Florence Nightingale’ award saves life of co-passenger mid-flight

Dr Mohammed Asheel (L) with Nurse P Geetha (Facebook/Mohammed Asheel)
Dr Mohammed Asheel (L) with Nurse P Geetha (Facebook/Mohammed Asheel)

A nurse from India's southern state of Kerala, who was on her way to receive an award for her work, saved a soldier's life on the flight.

P Geetha, a former nursing superintendent with Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, was travelling to the capital Delhi on Sunday to attend an award ceremony organised by president Droupadi Murmu at the presidential palace in honour of the winners of India’s annual National Florence Nightingale Award.

Nearly 30 minutes into the journey onboard an Air India flight, a 32-year-old soldier named Suman who was on his way to India-administered Kashmir collapsed in his seat.

When the aircraft staff enquired whether there were any medical professionals on board, Ms Geetha jumped into action. She checked the soldier's condition and found there were no signs of a pulse.

She began CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and moments later detected a pulse again.

"It was difficult to tend to Suman initially as he was seated. After administering CPR, I found a pulse. We then managed to revive him," Ms Geetha told The New Indian Express.

Another doctor on the flight, Prem Kumar, joined her and quicky applied a cannula to the patient to administer the two bottles of IV fluids available on board.

Ms Geetha said the soldier was carried to the rear of the flight with the help of blankets and he was able to eat within the next hour.

"I was there beside him throughout the journey," she said.

Upon landing in Delhi, Suman was rushed to a local hospital.

Mohammed Asheel, a World Health Organisation (WHO) officer who was on the same flight and helped in tending to the soldier, said she initially thought the nurse was Suman's relative.

"It was only after she returned to her seat at the time of landing that I realised she was nurse," Dr Asheel told the newspaper.

Suman would not have survived had Geetha not administered CPR on time, he said.

Dr Asheel added: “Hats off to Mustafa (flight attendant) too who had undergone training on emergency medical care on board a flight. My role was minimal as one of the other doctors was also an emergency care physician."

Ms Geetha, a resident of Kozhikode city, was previously honoured with the “Best Nurse of Kerala State 2019” award and has been credited for her work during the deadly Nipah virus outbreak in the state.