SME Student Saves Life on Flight
We are extremely proud of Thandeka Xhakaza who, on her way home for Christmas, was called upon to use her medical training to save a life aboard a Ryanair flight to London.
The SME student, who is currently studying 4th year medicine at Trakia University, was flying from Plovdiv airport to Stansted airport when, during the flight, a flight attendant called for a passenger with medical experience. After confirming that there was no certified doctor on board, Thandeka mustered up the courage and offered to help, all the while making it clear that she was a 4th year medical student. The flight attendant immediately directed her to the passenger who had collapsed and was unconscious. The air crew explained to Thandeka that the lady had stopped breathing for a couple of minutes. The patient’s radial pulse was absent at which point Thandeka immediately conducted CPR on the lady and managed to get a pulse and breathing again. Once she was breathing, Thandeka gave her an oxygen mask and put her into the recovery position and moved her towards the far back of the airplane out of the way of other passengers. At some point the pilot came over and asked Thandeka if they should divert the flight to the nearest airport. Taking into account the condition of the passenger, Thandeka instructed the pilot to make the diversion and to have an emergency medical team waiting for their arrival while she would try to keep the passenger stable. She stayed with the patient until, 20 minutes later, the flight landed in Bucharest where paramedics were on hand to take the patient to the nearest hospital.
Ryanair, in a show of gratitude to Thandeka for her bravery in the face of an extremely dangerous situation, sent her a letter which you can find here.