Australian man collapses on airplane and has 10% chance of survival — fortunately staff knew what to do

October 26, 2017 6:28 pm Last Updated: October 26, 2017 6:35 pm

Few people enjoy flying. Between waiting in lines, being confined to a chair for hours, and hauling luggage around, traveling by plane is a stressful ordeal that most people simply endure. But according to a story published by Brunel University in London, a man named Glyn Danks has a story to top them all.

In many ways, the 68-year old Australian man is fortunate to have been on this particular plane when disaster struck. Danks says doesn’t even recall feeling ill when he boarded the plane. But what was supposed to be a short ride on Etihad Airways quickly became a life-threatening nightmare.

Fortunately for him, the staff on the plane was prepared, and their willingness to immediately answer the call of duty saved Danks’ life.

“The next thing I remember is waking up on the floor of the plane,” Danks said.

(Facebook/ Etihad Airways)

Just as the plane was ready for take off, Danks lost consciousness and collapsed. Fellow passengers on board notified the airline staff immediately, who began administering CPR. Emergency authorities at Heathrow Airport were also notified, and police, fire, and ambulance services all responded.

Emergency services arrived at the plane in under two minutes. Little did they know how much of a difference every second was going to make.

“The next thing I remember is waking up on the floor of the plane,” Danks said. “I could see lots of feet and I could hear lots of different people shouting and giving lots of advice.”

He was rushed to Hillingdon Hospital, still with a pulse but fading quickly. A CT scan at Hillingdon revealed that the situation was more dire than anyone could have predicted.

“He had a CT scan which demonstrated a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm,” said Dr. Rakesh Patel.

(Twenty20/ ElanaT)

Thanks to modern technology, Dr. Rakesh Patel was able to accurately identify an abnormality in Danks’ scan from 11 miles away, saving his life. Dr. Patel, who was at Northwick Park hospital, logged onto his Hillingdon issued iPad, reviewed the scan, and ordered his transfer to Northwick immediately. Danks needed to be rushed into surgery.

The Perth, Australia resident had suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is a swelling in the main blood vessel that runs from the heart. His chances of survival were around 10 percent, and time wasn’t on his side.

“The next thing I remember was waking up in hospital and being advised I had to have a major operation,” he said. “If I didn’t have the operation, it would be the end – there was no option but to have it.”

The surgeons treated Danks’ aneurysm with stents, and miraculously he survived. He was released from the hospital six days later, and he has nothing but good things to say about the people who took care of him.

“I will make my life as good as possible for the however many years I’ve got left,” said an appreciative Glyn Danks.

(Facebook/ Hillingdon Hospital)

Danks is indeed lucky to be alive. It took a team effort from start to finish to save his life, culminating in a risky surgery that few live to talk about. But it all started with the the crew of the Etihad Airways flight, who responded quickly with CPR, and kept Danks alive until emergency services arrived.

“Thanks to the quick-acting Etihad crew members who commenced CPR on the plane and several NHS emergency services working together, we were able to treat the aneurysm at Northwick Park hospital,” said Dr. Patel.

Danks has since returned to Perth, Australia. At 68 years old, he has a new outlook and deep appreciation for life.

“I feel very privileged and grateful to be here.”