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A Mid-Flight Rescue by a UVA Nurse

On June 6, 2011 | At 1:04 pm
Jacque Griffin, RN

Jacque Griffin, RN

A 51-year-old man boards a plane with his wife for a well-deserved vacation. One hour later, his wife is yelling for a doctor. Miraculously, a trained nurse comes to the rescue and resuscitates the man to the cheers of passengers.

Sounds perfect for the big screen or a soap opera, right?

Only this time, it’s not made for the movies. It’s real, and Jacque Griffin, RN, director of Clinical Operations at UVA’s Transitional Care Hospital, is the humble heroine.

“I did what anyone else would do, and I am so grateful that I was there,” she said.

“I have to say, the experience really is nothing like what you would think it’s like. The space is very small. No one knows how to help you. It was hard. It was really hard,” said Griffin.

When Lisa Beagles yelled for help, her husband Steve wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. It took 22 minutes to safely land the plane. “It was a very clinical moment when the emergency personnel came on the plane. I went into nurse mode and talked to them just like I was giving a report. It was very surreal,” said Griffin.

It turns out Steve has a life-threatening condition. Emergency physicians at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta are certain he would not have survived without Griffin’s quick thinking and intervention. He is now doing fine.

“My husband and I want to thank our angel-in-flight Jacque Griffin for a life-saving event. … Jacque will always have a special place in our lives for [her] actions that Monday morning,” said Lisa.

Griffin may be reluctant to receive accolades for her help, but she was certainly in the right place at the right time and used her skills to save a father of two young daughters.

Find out more about this story.

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