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Doctors Help Save Tampa Woman On Flight Over Pacific

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TAMPA (CBSMiami) -- After suffering a medical emergency 40,000 feet in the air, a Tampa woman is back home and thankful for the three mysterious doctors who helped save her life.

"It's gonna be real special. Santa has already come this year," saved Debbie Taylor, standing next to her Christmas tree.

Tampa Woman
Debbie Taylor, from Tampa, FL, looks at the oxygen mask used to save her life when she fell ill on a flight over the Pacific Ocean in November 2017. (Source: WFTS, Family handouts)

Debbie isn't supposed to be standing there.

"It feels really good to be alive," she contemplates. "I have some angels up there that said it wasn't my time yet."

Her journey back to life began over the Pacific Ocean, on her way home from a vacation in Vietnam.

"I remember telling the woman next to me, 'I don't feel well, I need to get home,'" she recalled.

Shortly after, Debbie became non-responsive.

Three doctors, however, were on board and jumped into action.

"They gave me CPR, using that for about five hours," she said, holding up the oxygen mask they used to help resuscitate her. "This is pretty scary. This is the line between life and death right here."

The pilots made an emergency landing in Alaska and paramedics rushed Debbie to the hospital.

Her daughter, Cheryl Cowans, traveled across the country from their home in Tampa, Florida to be by her mother's side.

"I was worried she was gonna be brain dead," Cheryl said.

Debbie was in a coma. Doctors put her on life support. But in yet another twist, she came out of it.

"After I woke up, I was afraid to go to sleep," Debbie said. "I was afraid I wouldn't wake up."

Fast forward two weeks later and Debbie was back to being "mimi" to her grandchildren.

"When I Skyped my kids, and she was able to say 'I love you'... yeah," she said.

But she never got a chance to thank those three doctors.

"You saved my life, thank you very much," Debbie said.

"I'm sure they want to know what happened," said Cheryl. "I just want to say thank you. My mom is my best friend."

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