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Somewhere between catching some ZZZs and checking her email, Jessica Roche heard the call overhead: “Is there a doctor on board?” The NCH nurse practitioner hospitalist was flying from Dubai to Amsterdam on her way home to the United States.
“I didn’t even put my shoes on—I just went,” Roche recalled. She quickly learned there was a 30-year-old unresponsive female lying in the aisle.
“There was a thick crowd of people around her, and her mom was sobbing,” Roche said. “I removed her hijab so I could get a closer look and found she had no pulse.”
According to Roche, there wasn’t any room to begin CPR. “She was completely unresponsive, and I was out of options,” she said. “I’m a former ICU nurse, so my instinct took over, and I administered a precordial thump—a punch to the sternum at heart level. It worked!”
The woman regained consciousness, and Roche monitored her for the rest of the flight to Amsterdam. EMS was waiting at the gate when the plane landed to take the woman to the hospital. “I can’t help but think I was on that flight for a reason,” Roche said.