Tuesday, May 10, 2011
German doctor saves life of woman on flight to Israel
Orthopedic trauma expert is called by flight crew to treat woman suffering from thrombosis in her leg that could have killed her
A German surgeon who flew a day early to Israel to lecture on his specialty of orthopedic treatment for trauma saved the life of an unnamed 65-year-old woman who was with him on the Lufthansa flight to Ben Gurion Airport on Independence Day.
The expert, Prof. Christian Krettek of Hannover University Hospital, had been invited to attend a conference on new surgical technology at Ziv Medical Center in Safed. He is considered a leading authority in the use of the Navigator technique for orthopedic surgery.
The conference begins on Thursday, but the German physician decided to come early to visit friends at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem before going to the Galilee event.
His hosts waited for him at Ben Gurion, but he was still not there an hour after they were supposed to meet at the arrivals gate and worried about him. They finally learned that Krettek was late because he had treated the woman, who was in moderate-to-serious condition but alive and was waiting to see them until she was taken to hospital.
Ninety minutes before landing, a woman on the plane felt unwell, vomited and complained of pain in her leg. Then she collapsed. The flight crew called for a doctor and, noticing the German physician on the list, asked him to help.
He examined her and found that she was in a dangerous situation with a thrombosis in her leg that could have clogged her coronary vessels.
He injected her with the suitable medications on the plane, asked for an ambulance to be waiting and kept watch until she was evacuated. He was certain that without treatment in the air, she was in danger of her life.
Krettek said it was the fourth time that he treated patients who felt unwell while on a flight, but that this was the most difficult he encountered. "I was happy I was on the flight because I had decided to arrive in Israel a day before I had planned," he said.
The conference, initiated by Ziv orthopedics chairman Dr. Alexander Lerner will be attended by scores of orthopedists and other specialists on the subject of injuries from war and terror.