Friday, May 15, 2009

Nursing student saves life at 30,000 feet

A post-finals vacation in Las Vegas turned into a life-saving event for TCU nursing student Leah Joslin this week.

The 21-year-old rising senior, shown here in her purple TCU Nursing scrubs in the school's lab, was on a flight back to DFW when another passenger suffered a medical emergency, losing consciousness.

Joslin jumped up to help, pushing a passenger sitting on the aisle out of the way.

The man’s lips turned blue, a sign Joslin recognized that he was oxygen deprived. She asked the flight crew for oxygen, a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff and started administering the oxygen and taking his vital signs. Within about 10 seconds, she detected a faint pulse that grew stronger.

“We finally did get a blood pressure reading that was within normal range,” she said.

The passenger and his wife were Italian and did not speak English, but after she revived him, she was able to stabilize him by mimicking what she wanted him to do. Joslin stayed with the man and his wife until the plane landed and paramedics arrived.

"He was so cute. He kept apologizing to me profusely," Joslin told WBAP-AM. "As I left, his wife took my hand, kissed it and said, 'grazie.'"

Her quick-thinking heroics also made the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and KTVT Channel 11 news.

“I feel proud of my education,” she told Channel 11. “I feel like, wow, I really do know something.”

Joslin followed a practice taught to everyone in the nursing program, Glen Raup, TCU assistant professor told the Star-Telegram. You respond to a medical emergency by initially evaluating airway, breathing and circulation problems, and then looking for other difficulties the person might be having, Raup said.

"Nurses are trained to assess the situation and then intervene when appropriate as based on their training," Raup said. "You hope that when it comes time to apply those skills that nurses will step up, as was the case with Leah."

Joslin is pursuing a double major: nursing and writing with a minor in religion.

Her career goals include working in a trauma intensive care unit, helping babies born premature, and participating in research dealing with genetic diseases such as autism and Down syndrome.

But she isn't the first Frog to respond during a recent in-flight emergency.

Kate Lunati of Atlanta, Ga., was returning from a mission trip to Central America when she helped start an IV for a young woman who was suffering from severe dehydration.

In an article written by TCU student writer Rachael Carranza, Lunati described how "my faculty had warned that we were now prepared to assist on airplanes on the rare occasion that there was no one else available."

"The experience on that flight inspired me to discover myself," she added. "It was tangible, and I could feel it move through me, erasing doubt and instilling confidence."


Mary said...


This is the assistant editor for which is a medical publication offering hospital news, information and reviews. We also cover a wide variety of medical topics, some of these articles being relevant to nursing schools and issues around their prospective students (scholarships, grants, etc). We are in the process of giving the nursing industry a dedicated section from our site and are currently seeking online resources which can be offered to our readers of this section. If possible I would like to be included within your blog roll, offering our information as a resource to your readers and essentially building a relationship between our sites. Please let me know if this addition can be made, Thanks!

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Thank you
Mary Miller,

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