Lending a Hand on Flight
When a passenger on board a flight took ill, Assistant Nurse Clinician Ms. Woo Pei Yoong went beyond her call of duty to render medical assistance to the passenger. In recognition of her act of compassion, Pei Yoong was identified as one of the recipients of 'Our People, Our Pride', which honours staff for their dedication in providing quality care for patients.
A Sudden Call for Help
The incident happened on my flight home from Taiwan. I recalled hearing an announcement from the flight crew requesting medical assistance for a passenger who had taken ill.
Responding to the Call of Duty when You are off Duty
After identifying myself, a crew member led me to a passenger who looked pale and felt cold and clammy. I advised the crew member to let the passenger lie down on the seats while I checked with the passenger’s husband on her medical history, drug allergies and related information that could have caused her condition.
As the patient was conscious and coherent, she was also able to relate her symptoms to me, which were diarrhoea and abdominal cramp. I examined her and took her vital signs, and I noticed that she was suffering from hypothermia1. I immediately requested for additional blankets to warm her up. Fearing that she may also be developing hypovolemia2 due to the frequent diarrhoeas, I also got the crew member to make concentrated salt water to help her replenish the electrolytes in her body. I then checked to make sure that I had provided her with all the necessary care before handing her over to the flight crew to continue monitoring her vital signs half hourly to ensure that her condition did not deteriorate. Upon reaching Singapore, I was glad to learn that her condition had improved.
Gratification as a Nurse
The passenger later wrote to National University Hospital to compliment and thank me. As a professional nurse, I felt deep satisfaction that I was able to help a fellow passenger in need.
By Ms. Woo Pei Yoong
1 A condition of having abnormally low body temperature.
2 A decreased volume of circulating blood in the body.