Watch CBS News

North Texas Nurse And 4 Others Help Save Passenger Having Seizures On Southwest Airlines Flight

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A nurse from North Texas helped save a woman who was having seizures on a Southwest Airlines flight last week.

Meredith Smyly, who's been a nurse for more than three years, works mostly with ICU patients at the Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas.

Last Thursday, May 6, she hopped on a flight for a much-needed vacation.

"Me and my husband, we were headed to Florida," Smyly said. "The plan was to get away from work, to get away and just relax, and God had other plans."

Once the plane was in the air, Smyly heard staff calling for a doctor or nurse to help a passenger who was having a seizure, and she immediately jumped into action.

Meredith Smyly
Meredith Smyly with dog

Smyly wasn't the only nurse who answered the call.

"We were using a stethoscope, we were trying to hear over the engine," she said. "You really start thinking critically, just like I would in the ICU, but you don't have other things to rely on, technology wise."

The five nurses on the flight didn't know each other, but ended up working as a team.

Nurses who helped save passenger on Southwest Flight
Nurses who helped save passenger on Southwest Flight (credit: Southwest Airlines)

"We all came from different walks within our profession," said Smyly. "Whenever we came together, we all really brought something new to the table."

They ultimately had to perform life-saving measures on the patient as the plane made an emergency landing in New Orleans.

"We began to do CPR after we saw she was unresponsive and her pulse was thready and she wasn't able to breathe well," she said. "Within one round of compressions, she woke up and was grateful. She was thanking all the nurses."

She was even able to walk off the plane with EMS.

"I was teary eyed, and I get teary eyed thinking about it," Smyly said. "You just hear everyone clapping. The nurses that went through COVID, they did that day in and day for 12 to 13 hour shifts. I think it was neat for people to see it firsthand."

Smyly says she'll forever share a bond with the nurses who worked with her to save a life, 30,000 feet in the air.

Though the spotlight is on her right now, she wants to highlight the heroic work all nurses do every day.

"I definitely think that every nurse that has been working during the past year with COVID, you definitely deserve recognition, so here it is," she said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.