After finishing a final round of radiation treatment for cancer, Jerry Drouillard boarded a plane for Orlando, FL. Worn out from the treatment, he decided to settle into his aisle seat and take a nap during the flight. It almost became his last.
He boarded the SPIRIT flight in Detroit; the Spirit almost transported him to the beyond. With the plane still on the tarmac, Drouillard suffered a massive heart attack.
Jeff, a passenger on the flight, had finished his CPR classes only three weeks earlier. He sensed there was something was wrong with the man and rose to help. Signaling the flight attendant to help him, neither one could find a pulse. They believed the man had died.
“You don’t normally hear someone call for 911 on a plane,” said Nurse Sue who was sitting a couple of rows back. The excitement got her attention and she hurried to offer her help. Katie, a cardiac care nurse who also sat nearby jumped in too. As medical professionals, they both realized Drouillard could be in his last moments. They put oxygen on him and Katie immediately started CPR while Sue sang “Staying Alive” to help keep the rhythm of CPR until the ambulance arrived.
Jerry now had a pulse but it was very weak. Still unresponsive, the “Spirit team” got the plane’s defibrillator and administered it.
The paramedics then rushed him to the hospital where he had a quintuple bypass. Jerry says he doesn’t remember anything that happened on the plane. He’s just happy everyone pitched in and helped keep him alive. “Don’t clap for me,” he said when meeting his ‘Spirit team.’ “All I did was survive.”
A Team of Strangers
Three professionals ‘just happened’ to be seated around this man – a man who just finished his CPR training, a nurse, and a cardiac care nurse. With team spirit, they along with the flight attendant worked together to keep this man alive another day.
Ironic? Coincidence? Or a miracle? Jerry believes it was a miracle.
I choose to believe that too.
“This is a real miracle. The people were all there, and I’m so happy for this. Everything fell into place and I give the glory to God. Here I am.” Jerry Drouillard
This true-life story inspired me to write a fictional story. You may read it here.