My name is Yoel Bueta, and I just had a pretty incredible experience wherein I saved a man’s life while on a plane. I was traveling from Israel to London last week for a short vacation. As we were nearing the end of the flight, with only 40 minutes left, I heard a commotion coming from the back of the plane, people began yelling for help. I got out of my seat and rushed over to see what the problem was. I was brought quickly to a man in his 50s who had just fainted. He was pale and his skin was sweaty and cold to the touch. He wasn’t experiencing any shortness of breath, but his heart rate was very low. Another passenger handed me an electric blood pressure cuff and when I took the man’s blood pressure it registered as lower than 90 systolic. He was clearly suffering from hypotension, but there was more to this story I could tell.

I asked the flight crew if they had any medical equipment that they could bring to me, they went to check, but none was brought back. I took an oral history and asked the man’s spouse whether he was suffering from any pre-existing medical conditions. She told me that he was not. Just then, the man fainted again. It seemed very likely that the man was suffering from a severe case of hypoglycemia, and that this was the first time he was showing symptoms.

I asked for sweets from the flight crew and other passengers and people gave them over very quickly, all of them were eager to help. I fed the man chocolate and asked for sugary drinks to be given to him as well. My last request was to the crew. I asked them to inform the pilot that we would need an ambulance to be waiting on the tarmac when we touched down so that he could be taken to the hospital as quickly as possible for continuing treatment.

When we touched down an ambulance was indeed waiting and I briefed the crew on what had happened and on what step I took. They were grateful for the in-depth information and I was happy to transfer into their care a patient who was stable, for the moment. Thanks to the chocolates and sweet drinks, the man regained full consciousness and his symptoms dissipated. I shudder to think of what would have happened had I not stood up to help. No other responders came forward and the crew doesn’t have the training to have been able to assess the man’s correct ailment. With 40 minutes left in the flight, without the intervention that I gave, this story could have had a much more tragic ending.

Yoel is a volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah from the Beit Shemesh area and works with his dad in their family business. When he isn’t busy at work, or traveling, he spends his time responding to medical emergencies, and now apparently, in-flight emergencies as well.