Life saver: Dr Elaine Campbell provided medical assistance on her BA flight. *Photo by Glenn Tucker
Life saver: Dr Elaine Campbell provided medical assistance on her BA flight. *Photo by Glenn Tucker

A Bermudian doctor came to the rescue when a passenger on board her flight suffered a suspected stroke.

Elaine Campbell was on her way back to the island from the UK when the man collapsed at the back of the plane.

Dr Campbell, together with local GP, Judith Boyce, looked after the patient and comforted his wife.

They ensured he remained on oxygen for the rest of the journey and kept an eye on his breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

Their efforts on board last Thursday’s British Airways flight meant that the plane did not have to be diverted to Newfoundland and the passenger was able to be taken to hospital once the plane arrived on hospital.

Dr Campbell, a consultant anaesthetist, who spends much of her time in the Intensive Care Unit at King Edward VII Hospital, told the Bermuda Sun that the man’s condition had improved significantly by the time they reached Bermuda.

She said: “We were about half way into the flight when there was an announcement in the cabin asking any medical personnel to make themselves known to the crew.

“I spoke to one of the attendants and explained what I did, and was told that a passenger had suffered a suspected stroke in the back of the plane.


“There was a couple of people in attendance when I got to the back and it was a little chaotic.

“Obviously the man’s wife was upset so I tried to calm her down and get as much medical history about her husband as I could.

“He did look terrible when I first saw him. He was laid out across the seats.

“But he had a pulse and was able to communicate with me when I asked him some basic questions.”

Dr Campbell, along with Dr Boyce, worked to stabilize the man and moved him and his wife up to seats in business class where they were able to monitor him.

She said: “It’s the first time that I have been called on to deal with an emergency in the air.

“I was very much in holiday mode, but luckily with my job I’m used to changing tack and getting a call to start work at all hours of the day.”

She added: “The captain came and spoke to us at the end of the flight to say thanks for what we did.

“And he told us that if we had not been onboard and able to assess his condition, the plane would have had to be re-routed to Newfoundland.

“So it was fortunate that we were able to help.

“It was very much a case of back to basics, stabilizing the patient and keeping everyone else calm.”

By the time that the plane arrived in Bermuda, the patient was talking and had improved significantly.

He was taken via ambulance to hospital but is understood to have been discharged soon after.