Updated January 17th, 2024 at 17:53 IST

Kochi Doctor's Heroic Act: Saves 'Breathless' Man's Life Mid-Air, Wins Internet

During a night flight from Kochi-Mumbai on Akasa Air, Dr. Philips a passenger played a vital role in aiding a fellow traveler struggling with breathing issue.

Reported by: Manasvi Asthana
Kochi Doctor's Heroic Act: Saves 'Breathless' Man's Life Mid-Air, Wins Internet | Image:PTI

Kochi: During a January 14 night flight from Kochi to Mumbai on Akasa Air, Dr. Cyriac Abby Philips a passenger played a vital role in aiding a fellow traveler struggling with breathing issues stemming from critically low oxygen levels and high blood pressure. Reflecting on the incident, Dr. Philips noted that it was the first time in three and a half years that he had actively employed a stethoscope. The distressed passenger's family conveyed their appreciation to Dr. Cyriac Abby Philips for his life-saving assistance.

Dr. Philips recounted that he was attempting to take a nap due to fatigue from work when a fellow passenger seated beside him began experiencing breathing difficulties. He observed the air hostess attempting to connect the man's nebuliser for urgent inhalation treatment and assisted in getting the machine operational.


In a statement on X (formerly known as Twitter), Dr. Philips mentioned, "I found the air hostess trying to plug in the man's nebulizer for emergency inhalational treatment and I helped her get the machine running. He spoke in broken sentences, but he was not getting better."

Dr. Philips expressed his confusion regarding why the passenger, who didn't have asthma, possessed a nebulization kit. He further explained, "I asked for the stethoscope and found that his left-side lung sounds were completely absent. It was water-filled (a condition called pleural effusion)."

In the midst of intermittent breaths, the passenger conveyed to the doctor that his kidneys were in poor condition. Dr. Philips inquired about dialysis, to which the passenger revealed he underwent it three days a week, with the next session scheduled for the following day. Noting that the passenger had run out of medications the previous night, Dr. Philips accessed his unlocked phone images to view his recent prescriptions. The majority were for high blood pressure. Upon checking the passenger's blood pressure, Dr. Philips discovered it to be 280/160, indicating accelerated hypertension and compromised lung function due to pleural effusion. With just one hour remaining until landing, the doctor recognised the urgency of the situation, emphasising the need to keep the passenger alive until emergency medical services could attend to him.


Dr. Philip disclosed that while in mid-air, he performed a double puncture on the only accessible vein on the right side, and unfortunately, further access was lost. The other upper limb had a dialysis fistula, but it was unusable. Dr. Philip explained, "So I gave him a frusemide injection into his buttock muscles ( a VERY long time since I gave an adult an intramuscular injection) after telling him it was going to pain, but I had no other options and also because it was so hard to find a vein as he was struggling and the flight was a bit turbulent."

Dr. Philips also commended the Akasa Air crew for their assistance in maintaining the passenger's life. He praised them, saying, "They quickly changed and provided oxygen cylinders without haste helped me get his saturation to above 90%. I found some blood pressure-lowering medications in the flight ER kit and helped the man swallow them in between breaths."


Following the plane's landing, the passenger received the necessary treatment and was promptly rushed to a nearby hospital. Dr. Philips had already informed the patient's family about the situation. "The next day, his family messaged me to let me know that he was well. In the evening, after my podcast recording, the patient himself called me after he was shifted out of ICU post-emergency dialysis," shared the doctor.

In response to Dr. Philips's post, Akasa Air expressed their gratitude, stating, "We are extremely grateful for your quick response and immediate assistance, which was instrumental in saving the life of a fellow passenger onboard our flight QP 1519. Our crew members Dhanya, Zargaam, Arnav, Kiritika in the cabin and Munish & Neha from the flight deck were privileged to have you as a crucial part of the team. Thank you once again for embodying the true spirit of care and compassion."


Dr. Philips's post quickly went viral, garnering widespread appreciation from internet users. 

One user wrote, "Great work Dr. Abby Philips. Amazing!" 


Another expressed joy, stating, "Felt so happy reading this update. Great work, Dr. Abby."




Published January 17th, 2024 at 14:20 IST