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Flight Attendants receive Real American Hero Award for actions in medical emergency

January 10, 2023

Flight Attendants receive Real American Hero Award for actions in medical emergency

As soon as Flight Attendants Brittany Fowler and Sheila Grace realized there was someone in need of medical attention, their Inflight training kicked in and they immediately knew they needed to assist.

They were in the middle of a compliance check with Inflight Supervisor Rebecca Ruiz during a sit when the Captain notified them that a man was down on the tarmac receiving chest compressions. Sheila said that because of the Captain’s situational awareness and alertness, the two flight attendants were able to jump into action.

Sheila stepped out of the aircraft to assess the situation from the ramp connected to the aircraft at the PHL gate. They were facing another PSA jet perpendicularly. It was the First Officer of that aircraft who experienced the medical event during his walk-around. When she saw the man down, she told Brittany and an automatic response kicked in for both of them. They became a seamless unit working together to grab the oxygen mask and run to assist the man. When they got closer, they realized it was a PSA First Officer.

“When it’s one of your own, you feel an extra sense of urgency,” said Brittany.

Sheila realized the pilot was still breathing and told the ramp agent to stop doing chest compressions. Sheila, who worked as a teacher all over the world before coming to PSA in 2019, said she had experience with students who had similar medical situations, but no other medical training than what she received during Inflight training.

“You just know what to do,” said Sheila. “Responses are automatic. You don’t think. You just act. It makes you realize how valuable the training is.”

She and Brittany worked together to get the oxygen mask on the man who was convulsing. He soon “came to” and the two flight attendants started to ask him basic questions, following the training protocols they were taught.

“It was nice to work with someone trained,” said Brittany. “We were able to be in step.”

The First Officer for their flight had called for medical assistance as Brittany and Sheila were helping the pilot.

“It was a full crew effort,” said Sheila.

In honor of their hands-on, life-saving measures, Sheila and Brittany were awarded the Real American Hero Award and were recognized at their home base of DCA by Inflight Supervisor Tiffany Schueler and Duty Manager Drew Werb.

The pilot expressed his gratitude to the Flight Attendants.

“My heartfelt appreciation goes out to the two flight attendants that assisted me,” he said. “The professionalism they displayed along with all the PSA team members deserves the highest recognition.”

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