On Tuesday, an elderly woman traveling on an El-Al flight from Russia to Israel began to feel ill. Passengers sitting nearby notified the flight attendants, who requested medical assistance.

Dr. Nathan Ungar, an aviation physician and long-time United Hatzalah volunteer, was sleeping peacefully in his seat on his return to Israel after having transported a patient to Russia. As a physician who frequently accompanies ill patients, Ungar had developed a prior rapport with the crew, who immediately approached his seat and informed him of the emergency. 

Ungar quickly located the distressed passenger and found her slumped in her seat, barely conscious. Using his medical equipment, Ungar began a thorough examination of the patient and realized that her condition was critical as she had dangerously low blood pressure and oxygen levels.

Ungar requested the onboard doctor’s kit from the flight crew. This kit, equipped with essential medical tools, an oxygen tank, and medications for various in-flight emergencies, is standard on every flight. Ungar connected the patient to oxygen, opened an IV line, and administered fluids to the patient, whose condition slowly began to stabilize. 

After monitoring the patient for a while and being satisfied that her condition was stable, Ungar recommended to the flight crew that they continue on to Tel Aviv. Ungar stayed near the patient until they landed, continually monitoring her condition to ensure that she didn’t regress. After landing at Ben Gurion Airport, an Advanced Life Support Ambulance met the plane on the tarmac and transported the patient to the hospital for further care.

“The story would have ended very differently if I hadn’t acted on time,” said Ungar. “I’m just blessed to have been at the right place at the right time.”