Saturday, October 24, 2015

Earning his wings: Social media praises emergency medical technician for in-flight help

Jason Morris, an EMT with the Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Department, was on a flight from Las Vegas to Chicago when a man a few rows behind him needed emergency medical attention. Morris stepped in until Chicago medics were able to take over at Midway Airport.


A local EMT is stunned by the praise he's getting days after a photo of him at an airport baggage carousel, accompanied by a story of him helping a fellow passenger, started making the rounds on social media.

"I'm really just blown away at every kind comment people have said on the Facebook post," Jason Morris said.

People from all corners of the country have weighed in online, thanking the 28-year-old Hebron resident for stepping in.

A flight home from Las Vegas is a time to rest and maybe lick some wounds from losing at the slots and tables. That's what Morris planned. A half-hour into the return trip Monday to Chicago's Midway International Airport, he heard a commotion a few rows back.

"I heard some people say, 'Hey, hey, help!'" he recalled.

Someone pushed the button to summon a flight attendant and looked back to see a middle seat passenger passed out.

"I said, 'I'm an EMT. Can I help?'" he said. "They said, 'Help. Please hurry.'"

The passenger was unconscious. He regained consciousness briefly, then passed out again and regained consciousness again. 

Morris works full time at ArcelorMittal in East Chicago and is a part-time and volunteer captain and EMT for the Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Department.

He used that knowledge and experience to monitor the passenger, offering basic care and checking his blood pressure. 

"I helped him out the best I could," Morris said.

Flight attendants provided on-flight medical equipment and relayed information to a doctor on the ground. A woman on the opposite side of the aisle offered her seat to Morris but he declined and instead stood in the aisle with some of the passenger's friends for the rest of the flight.

Medics from the Chicago Fire Department met Morris and the passenger at the gate. He doesn't know what triggered the passenger to pass out and doesn't have any information about the middle-aged man, except that he lives in Chicago's western suburbs.

"What caused it, I don't know," he said. "There's a lot it could be."

Jeremy Campbell, chief of the Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Department, said he wasn't surprised when he heard Morris stepped in; he's a natural leader.

"He's a caring person," Campbell said. "Jason comes from a good family. If you have that kind of upbringing, it's going to rub off on you."

Morris said it's nice to be thanked, but so many people — including firefighters, police and members of the military — do good jobs every day. His aunt contacted someone with Southwest Airlines but Morris said he is not looking for anything in return.

"I had a lot of people at the airport thank me and shake my hand," he said.

A representative from Southwest said multiple people have reached out to the airline about Morris' story, and the company is looking into the incident.

- Story and photos: http://www.nwitimes.com

Jason Morris, an EMT with the Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Department, was on a flight from Las Vegas to Chicago when a man a few rows behind him needed emergency medical attention. Morris stepped in until Chicago medics were able to take over at Midway Airport.

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