Marietta resident helps save a life during cross-country flight

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Gary O'Brien was on a flight from Oakland, California, to Columbus, Ohio, last Friday when the flight attendant asked over the intercom if there was a doctor or nurse on the flight.

A passenger had stopped breathing and was in dire need of medical attention.

O'Brien has a background that includes 25 years of EMT experience, so he immediately jumped in to help. Although, O'Brien is no longer certified, he was the best help available at the time.

"If you're the best that's there just like driving up on a vehicle accident help until more qualified people arrive and step back from the situation once people do arrive," said O'Brien. And your helps no longer needed at 35,000 feet its pretty hard for somebody else to get there."

The lead flight attendant stayed on the radio with a doctor that the airline has on call to determine if the plane needed to land or if the pilot could continue to Columbus. O'Brien's help allowed the passenger's vital signs to return which allowed the flight to continue.

O'Brien says, he re-positioned the passenger's head and started treating him for shock because his blood pressure was very low. He then elevated his feet and kept taking his vitals and they continued to improve through the flight.

Larry Hall is another Marietta resident who was also on the flight who witnessed the whole scene.

"It was a heartwarming but very concerning moment at the time but thank heavens Gary was there, who knows what would've happened," said Hall, witness.

The passenger was taken to a hospital after the plane landed in Columbus.

As for O'Brien, he is a member of the rotary club whose motto is "service above self" which is something he says he tries to live by.

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