Responding In-Flight

Responding In-Flight
Chip Lange

While taking an overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom, I had a mother and daughter sitting in the seats directly in front of me. Several hours into the flight both of them began showing signs of an overdose including convulsions. As a firefighter and EMT, I began to assess them and another passenger noted that they had taken some medication earlier in the flight. With the help of the flight attendants, we found several different types of tablets in an unmarked medication bottle. The flight attendants contacted the cockpit explaining the situation. The pilot needed to know if they had to make an emergency landing in Greenland for more definitive care. Luckily, I had recently bought a smartphone and had installed Epocrates. Within minutes, I used Pill ID to find out what each of the medications were. Sure enough, the mother and daughter had mixed a series of medications that could cause these symptoms, which were not long term or serious. A surgical resident who had been sitting in front of the duo approached us in the back galley and agreed that they only needed observation. After a few tense hours of monitoring the patients, the coast was clear and the problem was fully resolved. Had it not been for Epocrates with the Pill ID  feature, the plane's trip to London would have been delayed and this story could have been a lot different. Thank you, Epocrates, for such a great application!