Nurse of the Week: Kassondra Josey Helps Save Passenger 30,000 Feet in the Air

Nurse of the Week: Kassondra Josey Helps Save Passenger 30,000 Feet in the Air

When a passenger got sick mid-flight, Atrium Health Lincoln nurse Kassondra Josey jumped in to help save his life. In a less-than-ideal location, Josey relied on her training and rendered aid until the plane could make an emergency landing, and that’s why Josey is our Nurse of the Week.

On a flight back from Las Vegas with her husband after a fun family trip, they were somewhere over Texas when Josey’s husband nudged her about an overhead announcement.

“My husband told me they asked for medical personnel,” says Josey. “But a doctor stood up, so I sat tight for a minute. When I saw him run to the front of the plane for his bag, I knew it was serious. I told him I was a nurse and asked if he needed help. He immediately said, ‘Yes!’”

That’s when Josey jumped in, relying on her training and two-and-a-half years of experience as a nurse at Atrium Health Lincoln. 

The man was unresponsive, and his medical condition and history were unclear. But the nurse and doctor knew he needed help quickly because his vitals were unstable. So while the flight crew worked on arranging an emergency landing at a small airport in Abilene, Texas, Josey crouched in the snug aisle and started an IV – incredibly challenging without the aid of a tourniquet – all while the plane encountered turbulence. 

The IV helped provide much-needed fluids and medications for the passenger.

When a nearby passenger also fell ill, Josey helped them while still caring for the original passenger, just before a flight attendant told Josey to “brace for impact” for a rough landing.

The plane landed and was met by EMS, who rushed the passenger to a nearby hospital. Although Josey doesn’t know who the man is, she did get an update that he was awake and stable at a nearby hospital.

“No one gets on a plane expecting someone to need dire assistance,” says Josey. “I’m thankful for the positive outcome.”

Nominate a Nurse of the Week! Every Wednesday, features a nurse making a difference in the lives of their patients, students, and colleagues. We encourage you to nominate a nurse who has impacted your life as the next Nurse of the Week, and we’ll feature them online and in our weekly newsletter.