Ann Blackford

Medical Emergency on Airplane Elevates UK Nurse to Hero Status for Local Businessman

Published: May 22, 2014

 

Video Produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing.  To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.
 
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2014) — On April 3, 2014, Sarah Buschmann, a University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital neurosciences ICU nurse, had just settled into her seat near the back of an airplane departing Bluegrass Airport for Las Vegas.  About 20 minutes into the flight, she put her headphones on to take a nap. She was eagerly anticipating meeting up with four friends from other states to celebrate her 29th birthday on April 17 and her cousin's birthday on the 6th. It was a great excuse for them all to get together and she was excited. 

 

Bill Schutters, a 63-year-old businessman and entrepreneur from Richmond, Ky., and his companion Carol Conyers, were on the same flight. Schutters had a stressful week of traveling and work and they were looking forward to a little rest and relaxation in Las Vegas.

About 20 minutes into the flight, Schutters felt hot and began sweating profusely. As he removed his jacket, he told Conyers he was feeling sick.

 

"We joke around a lot and at first I thought he might be joking," Conyers said. "But when he threw his head back gasping for air and his normal ruddy complexion turned white as a sheet, I knew he was in trouble. His head fell forward and his eyes rolled back into his head as he passed out. I thought he was having a heart attack."

 

Buschmann was dozing peacefully to her music when she heard a voice talking over the loud speaker although she didn't understand what was said. She asked a nearby flight attendant who told her that a medical doctor or nurse was needed for someone in distress.

 

Without hesitation, Buschmann stood up and said, "I am a nurse. What can I do to help?"

Buschmann was led to a three seat aisle in the middle of the plane where she saw Schutters in the middle seat, pale, sweating, and unresponsive. The passenger in the third seat on the other side of Schutters was frightened and left for another seat. Buschmann sat down and began trying to figure out what was going on.

 

"He was having difficulty breathing, epigastric pain with nausea, in a cold sweat, dusky and in and out of consciousness," Buschmann said. "He was struggling to answer my questions and Ms. Conyers had to fill in the blanks for him. I had to continually probe him to keep him awake and talking."

 

"Sarah was so calm, a real pro," Conyers said. "She asked for a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope and oxygen. The oxygen tank arrived covered in dust. Sarah just calmly wiped it off with her hand and onto her pant leg as she checked the gauges and expiration date. She didn't hesitate to turn it on to start getting oxygen to Bill. He went through four tanks.  She knew he needed fluids and got him ginger ale and an aspirin. She was amazing."

 

Buschmann never left Schutters' side for the duration of their four hour flight, constantly monitoring him and checking in with the pilot and air medics by phone until they safely landed.  His color slowly returned after the ginger ale although he remained drowsy, continuing with spells of having trouble breathing and diaphoresis. The pilot decided that as long as he was conscious and stable he would able to tolerate the flight, there was no need for to divert the flight and land.

 

"Sarah has quite a sense of humor," Conyers said. "We really got to know each other during those four hours. We talked about everything that had happened that day prior to the flight.  We laughed so hard over that dirty oxygen tank. We can laugh about it now. Sarah talked about her how much she loved her job at UK. I learned that she went through the same nursing program that my niece is going through."

 

Schutters describes what happened to him that day as "the perfect storm." He only had a light meal and a glass of wine before the flight and his blood sugar had dropped. His normally elevated blood pressure had plummeted, he was under a lot of stress, dehydrated, couldn't get enough oxygen, and the extreme turbulence the airplane was experiencing that day only seemed to exacerbate his symptoms.

 

A medical team was on the runway when the plane landed to perform medical tests and take over Schutters' care, but to Schutters and Conyers, Buschmann was the real hero that day.

"Sarah was our angel because we don't know what would have happened if she hadn't been there," Conyers said. "She jumped to help us immediately. She didn't think about us intruding on her birthday celebration. She is amazing and an excellent reflection on UK. I have adopted her into my heart."

 

Buschmann attributes her attitude towards helping others to her upbringing. "My parents raised me well, teaching me to always help others. My mother is also in the medical profession and my godfather is a physician," she said. "All my life I’ve witnessed them jumping in to provide care when called upon. As a nurse in the ICU, I'm used to helping in a moments notice without stopping to think about it. We see everything here at UK and feel well prepared. It was my job to make sure that he was OK first and foremost."

 

After deboarding the plane, Buschmann made sure that Schutters and Conyers were OK with her leaving them with the medical team on the ground.

 

Schutters and Conyers thanked Buschmann many times over for everything she had done to help them. Still, a few weeks after their trip Conyers felt the need to find the young nurse they only knew as "Sarah" and to thank her again as well as let her co-workers and supervisors at UK HealthCare know about the exemplary care Schutters received that day thousands of feet in the air.  On May 21, a much healthier Schutters and Conyers came to the hospital to thank Sarah again and to be present as she was honored for her actions that day. 

 

“At UK HealthCare, our nursing vision is 'leading the way for every patient, every time,'" said Colleen Swartz, Chief Nurse Executive at UK HealthCare. "Sometimes the 'patients' we encounter may not actually be located at UK, but a patient we encounter by chance.  Sarah demonstrates our core values and lives out our vision of what being a nurse at UKHC means.  We are fortunate to have Sarah, and many others like her on our team."    

 

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu          

hug.jpgw_colleen.jpgimg_1877.jpggroup_use.jpgcolleen.jpg
April
 
 
 
1
LNFS Presents: Inherent Vice
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Successful Networking & Job Search
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
The Arboretum presents a Party for the Planet! Celebrate Kentucky's Past
Mr. PharmD Pageant 2015
Wed
2
LNFS Presents: Manakamana
LNFS Presents: Donnie Darko
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
SEC-ACC Virtual Career Fair
Massage on the Go #3
Thu
3
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Fri
4
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
5
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
6
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Age Friendly Community Panel
Resumes & Cover Letters that Work
Mon
7
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Tue
8
LNFS Presents: The Godfather
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
UK Remembers
SpeakBlue: Richard Sherman
Wed
9
LNFS Presents: The Shawshank Redemption
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
From Plows to Plates: A Journey Through Kentucky Foodways
Workshop on Publishing
Teached Documentary
Thu
10
LNFS Presents: Enemy
LNFS Presents: Seven Psychopaths
Cultural Coffee Hour
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture: Julian Cox
Fri
11
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
fab-ric-ate Exhibit
Sat
12
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Kentucky's Present - Learn about the Bluegrass region of the Walk Across Kentucky and about invasive plants that threaten Kentucky landscapes
Sun
13
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Get Your DIY On! Fix-It Station Demonstrations
Mon
14
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Job Club - LinkedIn: Your Job Search Best Friend
Tie Dye Tuesday
#UK Kick Butts Day
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 2 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 3 p.m.
Take Back the Night Lexington
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Godfather: Part II
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 11 a.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ Noon
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Affrilachian Poets
Bike-In Movie: The Bicycle Thieves
Wed
16
LNFS Presents: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
CANCELED: Bike-In Breakfast
Human Rights in China: a panel discussion
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: North by Northwest
LNFS Presents: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Cultural Coffee Hour
Car-Free Day
Performance Conference
Audience Appeals and Performing Assistance Conference
Holi: The Indian Festival of Colors
Fri
18
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Bully Breed Awareness Walk
Spring Carnival 2015
Taste of Africa
GAYla Drag Show and Silent Auction
Sat
19
 
Sun
20
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Floral Sculpture
Pinterest Party #3
Mon
21
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Student Center "Farewell" Informational Fair
Tour de Downtown Art
Tue
22
LNFS Presents: Birdman
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Healthy Smoothie Demonstration
Ping Pong Ball Drop
Shake the Stress Fest
Wed
23
LNFS Presents: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
LNFS Presents: The Avengers
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Wildcat Wrap-Up
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
Kentucky's Future - Plant a Tree in the Pennyrile region of the Walk Across Kentucky
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Batman
LNFS Presents: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Cultural Coffee Hour
Art in Bloom Weekend
Fri
25
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Network Publishing: Digital Writing in the Humanities
The Party for the Planet final event in April is Arbor Day at The Arboretum!
Art in Bloom Weekend
Raise the Chinese Dream in Kentucky
Art in Bloom Cocktail Party
Sat
26
Art in Bloom Weekend
Sun
27
Resumes & Cover Letters that Work
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Fuel for Finals
UK Ag Equine Programs Distinguished Lecture Series
Mon
28
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Be PAWsitive!
Job Club: How to Write the Perfect Resume and Cover Letter
Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars
How to Impress Your Boss: Employer Panel
Tue
29
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Appalachian Research Day
Wed
30
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Thu
 
 

Repeats every week until Thu Apr 30 2015 except Mon Mar 16 2015.
Mon, 04/27/2015

Mon, 04/27/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Apr 30 2015 except Tue Mar 17 2015.
Tue, 04/28/2015

Reset Page