In a dramatic scene aboard an El Al flight from Newark to Tel Aviv, a passenger’s life was saved on Wednesday by United Hatzalah president and founder Eli Beer, The Jerusalem Post reported.
A Detroit man traveling to Israel to attend the bar mitzvah of his grandson was stricken with severe hypoglycemia and had gone into convulsions.
Beer recounted that “while I was sleeping, someone alerted me to a person who required medical attention a few rows in front of me. I jumped up from my seat and ran to where the person was seated. I saw a man about 65 years old, with convulsions, who had a cold sweat, was very pale, had a very high pulse rate and difficulty speaking. I tried to communicate with him and was unable to do so.
“I asked the flight crew to bring me the doctor’s medical bag and equipment. After a short check of his vital signs, even prior to obtaining the bag, I was able to diagnose the man with hypoglycemia. His lack of glucose was so severe that it appeared he would lose consciousness at any minute and that I might have to begin cardiovascular resuscitation,” Beer said.
Using a borrowed glucometer, they measured his glucose level at 40, a dangerously low level. With the assistance of another passenger, they induced the man to swallow honey and some jam, and after a half hour he began to recover.
Beer said he “took responsibility and told the flight manager that there was no need for an emergency landing.” He then stayed with the man for two-and-a-half hours until his condition stabilized, before returning to his seat.
“The El Al staff, especially the flight manager, were very helpful, as were a psychiatrist and neurologist from Ichilov Hospital who also helped in the beginning,” Beer said.
El Al’s vice president for customer services Amir Rogovsky said: “We want to thank Eli Beer for the resourcefulness and quick thinking that he showed on this morning’s flight. We thank him from the bottom of our hearts.”