CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Quick action by a Charlotte doctor is being credited with helping to save the life of a man who suffered a seizure on a flight bound for Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
It happened on a flight from Phoenix to Charlotte last Friday.
Passenger Thomas Laqoc, 70, was laughing and talking to the man seated next to him.
“I really didn’t feel it coming on,” Laqoc said, as he recounted his experience from his home in Southern California.
What happened to Laqoc was that he appeared to pass out, but it would be much more serious.
Seated behind Laqoc was Doctor Maeve O’Connor, a Charlotte allergy and asthma specialist.
“I saw Tom sort of slump back in his chair and the passenger next to him said he had just had a seizure,” O’Connor said.
The doctor got some help from other passengers and moved Leqoc to an exit row where they had some room to work on him, but Leqoc was already turning blue and appeared to possibly have died.
“I checked everywhere there is to check. No pulse and he had stopped breathing, so at that point he didn’t look very good,” O’Connor said.
The doctor started CPR and was about to use a defibrillator when Leqoc gasped for air and started breathing.
Leqoc says he remembers hearing the doctor’s voice and what she was saying.
“You are OK. Come back,” Leqoc remembered hearing.
The plane made an emergency landing in Nashville where doctors determined Leqoc had not had a heart attack, but rather had been completely dehydrated.
Leqoc says he is now a man with a second chance at life.
He is recovering at his home in Southern California and he had a message for Dr. O’Connor.
“I would want you to give her a big hug and say thank you, and that it is from Tom Laqoc.”
Doctor O’ Connor responded, saying, “He is very welcome. I’m just glad I was there.”