Airline personnel are prepared for just about anything. Especially seasoned employees having been onboard hundreds if not thousands of flights. They’ve truly seen it all, from unruly passengers to crying babies, to people becoming ill and needing emergency medical assistance.
When one passenger fell ill during a Delta flight, the usual protocol of asking if any doctors were on the plane was asked. Luckily for the airline staff, a doctor was onboard, and he happened to be the best in the business…
Delta Flight 1827
While a Delta Flight 1827 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was awaiting takeoff, a passenger lost consciousness and asked the flight crew for assistance. The flight was heading from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta and the pilot circled the plane on the tarmac while the crew evaluated the ill passenger.
The condition of the passenger was not immediately clear so flight attendants made their usual rounds of asking if there were any doctors on board. In situations such as this one, any help is appreciated, especially from a professional…
None Other Than The United States Surgeon General
One man raised his hand and his name was Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams to be exact. As you can imagine, there was no one better for the job and he was certainly up for the task.
Dr. Adams was previously Indiana’s health commissioner and recently he is best known for his response to an HIV outbreak that left 181 people infected in a rural Indiana county. Not to mention, he also helped minimize panic in the U.S. over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. So he was certainly qualified…
Then, in June 2017, President Trump nominated Dr. Adams as Surgeon General and two months later, he was confirmed as the nation’s top doctor. When the request went out for a doctor on board, Adams says he happily stepped in to help.
No One Better To Be Onboard
He tweeted about the incident on his Twitter feed writing, “On my Delta flight to Jackson, Mississippi (by way of Atlanta), and they asked if there was a Doctor on board to help with a medical emergency- why yes- yes there was.” Adams tended to the unconscious passenger hopeful that he would wake up…
Evaluating The Passenger
In addition to Adams, two nurses also responded to the call for emergency help from the Delta flight crew. While the patient eventually regained consciousness, the Surgeon General ultimately determined it was necessary to go back to the gate and for the patient to go to a hospital for further evaluation.
Tweeting About The Incident
Adams also called the patient’s spouse to explain the situation. He and the nurses then escorted the person off the plane where care was transitioned to medics who were called to the gate. He tweeted, “Patient doing well and like a good #USPHS officer, I was glad to be able to assist.” The Surgeon General had no idea how much attention his Tweet would receive. That following day…
Social Media Weighing In
Delta tweeted to the Surgeon General, “When the “Doctor on board” is THE Doctor. Thanks for your service and assistance today.” Others commented in response to Dr. Adams tweet saying, “On his way back home, Delta, you should bump that good man to first class.” Another person wrote, “OMG, to have the lead doctor in the nation assist with an onboard emergency- about as lucky as you can get.”
The Surgeon General was overwhelmed with messages commending him for his help in an emergency situation. He wrote a post on his Facebook page explaining how he was feeling. “Yesterday I had the good fortune to be part of a TEAM that responded to a medical emergency. The truth is…
Adams Shares His Thoughts
“There are doctors, nurses, and techs who step up each and every day to respond to emergencies on flights, and they ALL should be recognized and thanked,” the U.S. Surgeon General wrote. He clarified, “My tweet wasn’t about me- it was a way of acknowledging and encouraging ALL of the individuals who step up when duty calls…It was also to give a high five to those two amazing nurses who responded- a PICU nurse from Cincinnati Children’s and another former ER nurse.”
He continued, “With those 2+ me- an anesthesiologist from a level one trauma center- we had a dream TEAM to respond to a medical emergency…I [also] need to acknowledge the amazing Delta crew who are all very helpful, including the Captain, who was as cool as a cucumber! But most of all…
Shouting Out The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
“I was just really proud to point out that when there’s trouble, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps can always be counted on to respond…When there’s something weird, and it doesn’t look good, who ya gonna call?? Not Ghostbusters- but the #USPHS Commissioned Corps!!!”
The Opioid Epidemic
Adams was on the plane heading to Jackson, Mississippi to take part in a panel discussion at the University of Mississippi Medical Center about opioid use. Upon his confirmation as U.S. Surgeon General in June 2017, Adams noted that addressing the opioid epidemic along with untreated mental illness would be his top two priorities. There’s a reason it’s a cause close to Adams’ heart…
Substance Abuse Stemming From A Mental Health Issue
For two decades, his younger brother, Phillip Adams, has struggled with substance use disorders. His family believes it’s the consequence of an untreated mental health issue. Unlike Adams, who has taken charge of a state health department and worked to become “the nation’s doctor,” Phillip has struggled.
Opening Up About His Brother
With his addiction unaddressed, Phillip has been in and out of jail for years and is currently serving a burglary sentence in a state prison in Jessup, Maryland. In Dr. Adams’ first extensive interview about his brother, he said…
It’s Affected The Whole Family
“One of the most frustrating things is being surgeon general of the United States and feeling like you can’t help your own brother,” Adams said. He’s watched as addiction has not only interfered with his brother’s life but has also caused his whole family to struggle.
The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back For The Family
While away at college, Adams’ sister had money she saved from a waitressing job stolen from her pillowcase. After that incident, his mother called Phillip crying, at a loss for how to help him. While his brother’s addiction has caused strife for the entire family, it has helped give Adams a clear understanding of the addiction crisis…
The Crisis Affecting Millions Of Americans
It’s also linked him to millions of Americans who share the same worries about loved ones as he shares about his brother. Adams’ eyes have also been open to the barriers involved in recovery. Recently, Vice President Mike Pence has commended Adams saying, “[he has] an extraordinary gift for empathy.”
Commending Dr. Adams
This is why the Delta incident came as no surprise to anyone. Anyone that knows Jerome Adams, or has worked with him, knows he is always eager to help. We’re sure this won’t be the last time “the nation’s doctor” helps a struggling passenger onboard a flight or anywhere else for that matter.