Black Women To The Rescue: Two Med School Students Help Passenger In Distress Mid-Flight
LSU Health Sciences Center

Lauren Bagneris and Heather Duplessis, like many people with wanderlust amid the pandemic right now, were simply looking to enjoy a trip abroad before life got real again. The ladies made their way to Greece last week as a last effort to live it up before they had to get back to school at Louisiana State University Health and Sciences Center New Orleans for their second year of medical school. During the flight to the Southeastern European country, they were surprised to find that they would need to put their schooling to use to help a fellow passenger in distress. The woman had fallen due to low blood sugar and being overheated, and both women took action when flight attendants called out for assistance over the PA system. LSU Health and Sciences Center shared the news of their heroics on the school’s Facebook page over the weekend.

“Two LSU Health New Orleans medical students on a flight to Greece were sure in the right place at the right time,” the page shared. “There was a medical emergency onboard, and a call went out for medical professionals. No one responded, so Heather Duplessis and Lauren Bagneris identified themselves as medical students.”

They were able to assist the distressed passenger by doing a history assessment, finding out what she did earlier that day, supplying her with juice, food and helping to cool her down. They also took her blood pressure, checked her pulse as well as her blood sugar and reported the findings to a doctor on the ground. With their help, the distressed woman got through the episode just fine.

While sharing details of the stressful situation during an interview with The Washington Post this week, the women said they didn’t think they would be the ones to aid the passenger. However, when no one identified as a medical professional, they knew they needed to do something. The flight crew cared not that they were students.

“We were definitely mentally preparing, and I don’t know if that was just God putting us in the right mind-set for that situation,” Bagneris, 23, told the publication. “We’ve never discussed anything like that before.”

The event happened during their flight on Friday, and since, the ladies touched down in Greece for a 10-day vacation. They told The Post that they’re having fun island-hopping, while also receiving a wealth of messages from family and friends at home who heard about what they’d done. They hope not to run into any more emergency situations when they head back to New Orleans, but if necessary, they’re ready to jump into action again.

“Our main hope is that there are other, more qualified medical professionals onboard,” Duplessis, 25, said. She added if there isn’t, “we’ll do the same thing over again.”

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