07.18.2011 – Kaplan doctor saves Israeli over skies of Tashkent

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
LAST UPDATED: 07/18/2011 05:04

Rehovot’s Dr. Yael Dinai was on a flight from Israel to China via Uzbekistan when a 53-year-old man felt unwell and had a heart attack.

Zevulun Shalom, right, Dr. Dinai, middle
PHOTO: KAPLAN MEDICAL CENTER

The head of the emergency room at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot was on a flight from Israel to China via Uzbekistan when a 53-year-old man felt unwell and had a heart attack. The experienced urgent-care physician, Dr. Yael Dinai, resuscitated the man and ordered the pilot of flight HY505 of Uzbekistan Airways to land and take Gedera resident Zevulun Shalom to the nearest hospital in Tashkent.

Dinai, a physician for 37 years, sat a few seats from the man and, 20 minutes after the stopover in Tashkent, was awakened from sleep by Ellie Limor, an emergency-room staffer from Kaplan, and saw he was covered with a cold sweat. He then lost consciousness.

After initial treatment at the foreign hospital where he was stabilized, Shalom was flown to Kaplan to undergo angioplasty.

Now in good condition, he met Dinai on Sunday and thanked her profusely. He said if she had not been on the flight, treated him and given orders to the pilot, the plane would have landed in China.

The initial drama took place two weeks ago.

Dr. Gera Gendelman, a senior cardiologist at the Rehovot hospital, said if air travelers feel a cold sweat, rapid heartbeat or fainting, they should ask if there is a physician on the plane.

Heart patients must board the plane with a bag containing the heart medication they take regularly. They are advised not to eat a heavy meal four to six hours before the flight. If it is a long flight, walk around at least twice to improve blood circulation in the legs. Make sure not to smoke upon entering the plane, and don’t lug heavy suitcases in the airport.