459 ARW Airman utilizes AF training, saves life

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Cierra Presentado
  • 459 ARW/PA

 JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- “As soon as I heard the call for help, I knew it was time to step up, I was more than prepared, the training I have received was about to pay off.”

These thoughts ran through Tech Sgt. Simon Oliver’s head as he headed to the back of a commercial airplane during a flight to Jamaica.

Oliver is a medical technician with the 459th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who was on his way to Jamaica to celebrate his wedding anniversary. About mid-flight, a call went out over the loud speaker for medical assistance for a passenger who was experiencing medical complications. Oliver, knowing he is a fully certified medical technician, immediately stood up and volunteered his assistance.

“I wanted to help, I know I have the proper training being a med tech and a full time fire fighter,” Oliver said. “So I was not about to sit around when I know I can provide help.”

Oliver headed to the back of the plane where he was met with family members surrounding a female passenger who appeared unconscious. He quickly assessed the scene to find that she was actually responsive but could not open her eyes. After gathering information from the family, Oliver learned that the passenger had sickle cell anemia.

“Once I learned she had sickle cell anemia, I was concerned that if she was experiencing a lot of head pain and pain in her eyes, that she could be having a possible stroke or oxygen restriction due to sickle cell complications,” Oliver said. “I took her pulse, blood pressure, and put her on oxygen because if she was in-fact having a blood clot, my worry was that she would not be getting enough oxygen to the brain.”

After further assessment, and relaying information to flight attendants who also relayed info to emergency officials on the ground, Oliver decided the lady’s condition was not an emergency and relayed it to the attendants who informed ground units. Ultimately, authorities made the decision to press on to Jamaica.

“I felt it was not necessary to turn the plane around, I had the situation under control,” he said. “Within the hour, her blood pressure improved and her pulse slowed down. I stayed with her and comforted her and the family and assured them that she would be ok. I trusted my judgement, I didn’t feel like she was in danger, I knew there was nothing I couldn’t take care of.”

For the remainder of the flight, Oliver continued to monitor the lady and explain to the family that he believed the lady was experiencing Boyles Law, which is the possibility that her intracranial (within the skull) pressure she was experiencing may have been what caused the sinus pain, headache and eye pain. He also did a stroke test to rule out the possibility of a stroke. All of which he learned during his training here at the 459th.
“I am glad I was there on that flight at that time,” he said. “I am grateful for my Air Force training. The Air Force has given me so much more than I have been able to give back. Every day that I put on my uniform I feel blessed. There’s a sense of purpose that comes with it and I really enjoy it.”

Oliver continues to work hard every day, whether he’s at the fire department or working a unit training assembly weekend. His dedication and drive to becoming a better medic and Airmen does not go unnoticed.

“TSgt. Oliver exemplifies our core value, ‘service before self’,” said Master Sgt. Cherell Gerald-London, 459th ASTS First Sergeant. “While on his honeymoon he used his Air Force training to assist a fellow passenger in distress. He has always been that ‘go to’ Airman and can always be counted on to get the job done. ASTS – The Best Never Rest.”