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Navy doctors save man's life on Texas flight

Two San Diego Navy doctors en route to a medical training course in Texas ended up saving a man's life before their plane even landed.

Lt. Gregory Capra and Lt. Art Ambrosio were residents in the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. They boarded a plane to San Antonio on Feb. 8 for a cadaver dissection course, according to a press release from the Center.

Two hours into the flight, a man at the front of the plane went into cardiac arrest.


Despite two failed CPR attempts, and an unsuccessful administering of an automated external defibrillator (AED), the man was still not responding. A nurse on the plane tried to inject an IV line with epinephrine, but the man's veins were inaccessible.

Finally, the two Navy doctors tried an unconventional trick. The man's wife revealed her husband had a history of airway obstruction." Capra thrusted the man's jaw upward and opened his airway, while Ambrosio inserted a plastic hook-shaped device into his throat.

Read the original story on NBCSanDiego.com

The man began to squeeze Capra's hand and became responsive. Once the plane made an emergency landing, medics took over care. The man's condition at this time is unknown.

“We were in shock that it had actually happened, and that we were in the middle of it all,” said Capra in the release. “We were like, ‘Did that just happen to us?’ It was very surreal.”

Ambrosia added that at the Navy hospital, they were trained to work under pressure, which helped them to respond so quickly.

"There are different things they teach us here like poise under pressure, no wasted movements, knowing what you mean and meaning what you say … all of that helped us respond to this situation quickly and efficiently.”

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