Doctor saves woman overdosing on flight


A Boston cardiologist saved a passenger who passed out after a believed overdose 30,000 feet in the air.

>> Watch the news report here

Dr. Anil Punjabi was about to fall asleep on his flight from Boston to Minneapolis on Friday when he heard the Spirit Airlines attendant shouting for a doctor.

Other passengers alerted the crew when a woman a few rows back had been in the bathroom for a long time. When she got back, she was turning grey and slumped over, and passengers noticed she didn't have a pulse. Punjabi said he was working with an OBGYN nurse also on the flight to give her mouth-to-mouth CPR when they discovered a needle hidden in her bra.

No narcan on flight and an overdose in the air- I'm live at Logan

Posted by Jacqui Heinrich on Sunday, August 13, 2017

"We were down on the ground within 25 minutes, but at that time she was completely unresponsive,” Punjabi said.

For those 25 minutes, the crew, Punjabi, the nurse and an EMT trainee all worked to keep the woman alive.

The situation is putting a spotlight on the gravity of the opioid epidemic in Boston.

It’s also raising serious concerns for Punjabi about whether action should be taken by airlines across the U.S. to prevent this from happening again. Punjabi and the crew kept the woman alive until the plane was on the ground 25 minutes later, but in other situations, that may not be possible, he said.

>> Read more trending news

"You need to talk to your union, you need to talk to Spirit, you need to talk to the company. I said the one thing you need to get in your med kit is Narcan,” Punjabi said.

Helen Tederous, the spokesperson for Buffalo Niagara International Airport, said a Boston flight bound for Minneapolis made an emergency landing in Buffalo on Friday night, and a woman was taken to the hospital for an overdose.

Needles are allowed on flights, but must be declared and screened through TSA. Click here for more information.

– WFXT has reached out to Spirit Airlines for comment on the incident and has not yet heard back.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

'Sorry,' says man, 19, who opened fire at Florida high school
'Sorry,' says man, 19, who opened fire at Florida high school

The 19-year-old gunman who caused panic and fear at a Florida high school when he opened fire Friday morning said he was “sorry.” The gunman, identified as Sky Bouche, brought a shotgun onto campus at Forest High School in Ocala and shot a 17-year-old student in the ankle, deputies said.  The shooting happened on the day planned for...
2 Louisiana elementary school students arrested over nude Snapchat photos
2 Louisiana elementary school students arrested over nude Snapchat photos

Police in Louisiana arrested a female elementary school student who took nude pictures of herself, as well as her male classmate who shared the photographs through a social media app, WGNO reported. The students, who are enrolled at Bonne Ecole Elementary in Slidell, were charged with distribution of child pornography, the Slidell Police Department...
Florida commissioner allegedly fed, housed couple in exchange for sex twice a week
Florida commissioner allegedly fed, housed couple in exchange for sex twice a week

A Florida county commissioner was arrested Thursday on multiple prostitution-related charges after authorities said he housed and fed a couple in exchange for having sex with the man’s wife twice a week, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson, 71, was arrested Thursday by the Hernando County Sheriff&rsquo...
New Jersey state trooper indicted for pulling women over to ask for dates
New Jersey state trooper indicted for pulling women over to ask for dates

A New Jersey state trooper was indicted Thursday on charges he allegedly pulled over women on traffic stops to ask them out on dates, The Trentonian reported. Eric Richardson, 32, of Camden, faces charges including official misconduct, criminal coercion and tampering with records, the state attorney’s office announced. According to the six-count...
'Scarface' stars, fans reunite to say hello to their little friends
'Scarface' stars, fans reunite to say hello to their little friends

Fans of “Scarface” were more than happy to say hello to their little friends Thursday. Members from the 1983 movie -- known for its violence and profanity, and a cult classic -- had a reunion at the Tribeca Film Festival, The New York Daily News reported. Al Pacino, who played Cuban immigrant-turned-drug-lord Tony Montana, appeared...
More Stories