Nurse Couple Save A Man’s Life Mid-Flight As He Turns Purple And Slumps Over In Seat

By Abdul Rafay in Feel Good Published On 4th June 2023
Credit: Emily Raines

When a passenger became unconscious on their trip, a couple, who are both nurses, saved his life.


When a commotion started on the aircraft, Emily Raines and Daniel Shifflett were returning to Baltimore, Maryland from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A flight attendant announced over the speakers that everyone on board with medical training should proceed to the front of the aircraft to help a passenger who was experiencing a medical emergency.

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Raines, 31, said: "I could hear the panic in the flight attendant’s voice."

They discovered a man slumped over in his seat, without a pulse, and with a blueish-purple color to his face when they got to the front of the aircraft.

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They were halfway through their three-hour flight at this point.

Before going to finance in 2021, Shifflett worked as a nurse for five years. She said: "A flight attendant was trying to do compressions, but the guy was on his chair.

"You need to be on a flat surface. Otherwise, the compressions aren’t going to do anything."


As soon as the victim was on the ground, Shifflett and Raines started applying chest compressions.

The pair had limited options because of the narrow plane aisle, and Raines acknowledged that she was unable to observe the man's chest rise for some time.

The pair took action to open his airway after realizing that it was blocked.

Fortunately, the plane was equipped with medical equipment, including an oropharyngeal airway, a tool used to open a patient's airway.


The equipment was put together with help from other travelers.

Shifflett used a bag valve mask that provided positive pressure ventilation in addition to the oropharyngeal airway.

Raines kept on compressing his chest. Raines, a nurse of 10 years, described the pressure as follows: "It was very overwhelming."

It was "amazing," according to Raines, to see the man's eyes open. Emergency personnel took the passenger to the hospital.


Raines said: "Not a lot of times when you give CPR or have situations like this do patients truly make it. It doesn’t happen often."

It was fortunate that Raines and Shifflett had already boarded the aircraft because they had initially attempted to change to an earlier flight but were unable to do so due to the high cost.

The pair expresses their gratitude for staying with their original flight. The pair has maintained contact with the man and his family ever since the incident on May 1st.


He allegedly did not have a heart attack, thus the exact cause of his medical emergency is yet unknown.

The man's wife contacted them and sent them a heartfelt text message of gratitude: "I cannot possibly thank you enough for saving [his] life. There are no words.

"He’s at home now and he’s doing well."

In appreciation for the heroic couple, his wife pledged to bake a batch of "fancy" cookies.