Sunday, February 10, 2013

Angels in an Airport

Mecklenburg County's MEDIC 

I witnessed a miracle this afternoon at gate C11 in Charlotte's Douglas airport.

Awaiting a connecting flight to Baltimore my travel stupor was broken by a shout for help. A look over my shoulder revealed a young man on the floor convulsing wildly. His Sbarro lunch on the floor where it fell when he slid off his chair.

I felt helpless. Although CPR certified this was clearly something else. It looked like the diabetic seizures my father used to suffer.

The young man's color was all wrong and getting worse, his eyes were rolled up in his head.

I found myself doing the only thing I could. I prayed. 

I prayed as intensely as I've ever prayed before. And, as I looked around it was clear many fervent prayers were being offered at gate C11.

As if in answer to our prayers, a calm well dressed women (perhaps a physician or an RN) stepped in and began clearing a space around the victim. She placed something soft placed between his rocking head and nearby steel chair legs. Almost as quickly she was joined by another traveler complete with a tiny baby on her back. Together they attended the young man who (I could not help thinking) was about the same age as my son.

Within 2 minutes the first paramedic arrived and I noticed his arm patch. He was a member of Mecklenburg County's elite MEDIC team. I knew the convulsing young man was in very good hands.

Coincidentally I have worked with MEDIC and in the past have told friends "if one is ever to get sick, pray it is in Charlotte". But until I saw the patch I had not made the connection that it would be MEDIC staff responding at the airport.

They attended to him and administered oxygen. The convulsing soon stopped. His color returning. Now there were two additional MEDIC staffers assisting. They smiled gently and comforted the young man, asking if there was anyone traveling with him and if he had suffered seizures before. Clearly he was uncomfortable realizing that everyone at Gate C11 was concerned.

I wanted to take a photograph of MEDIC staff in action, but I decided not to. It just seemed like it was important to protect the self esteem of the victim. I also worried that use of the photo might be perverted by some opportunistic lawyer. To my lawyer friends (you know who you are) whom I know to be filled with incredible integrity, my apologies.

My flight was called.

The well dressed woman collected her laptop and joined us on the Baltimore flight. I was quite glad knowing she was on our flight.

Medical emergencies happen everywhere every day. But, in Charlotte, paramedics arrive much faster than almost anywhere else in the country. This is due to MEDIC's reliance on a computer model to anticipate demand and deploy staff accordingly. And when MEDIC paramedics arrive they will be superbly skilled as they use advanced simulators and cadavers in their training.

I work with first-responders everyday. It is not often I get to see the people I design buildings for in action. Today, as if answering my prayer, I did.

Roadboy's Travel © 2013   

1 comment:

beachdaddy said...

Wow ... good story and thankfully a happy ending ... Enjoy your writing immensely!!