DELTA 240 – Just as he started his descent into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after a long transatlantic flight, Captain Jack Wilson asked if “Medicine was on the plane” and if so “was the plane cleared for landing?” Though Wilson is familiar with cockpit maneuvers, this was usually a move reserved for surgeons.
“This is not an uncommon situation,” explained co-pilot Amanda Ryan to Gomerblog. “I mean, we ask if there’s a doctor on the plane all the time, sometime even a hospital administrator. As for Jack, that’s his style: he always wants Medicine board, no matter what.”
Letting out a huge sigh when no one else responded, internist Matt Thompson answered the call. “Yes, this is Dr. Thompson returning an overhead page from the Captain?”
“Are you Medicine?” Capt. Wilson asked, not waiting for a reply. “Good. Look, I’m taking this plane to the runway in about 25 minutes. I’d like you on board and clear her for landing.”
“I’m already on board, I paid for a ticket,” Dr. Thompson responded, clearly frustrated. “What kind of a landing are you doing?”
“Low-risk, I anticipate no complications and less than 50 cc blood loss,” replied Capt. Wilson. “Is she cleared?”
Dr. Thompson didn’t know how to respond.
“DAMN IT! Can you clear her?” persisted Capt. Wilson.
“It’s a jumbo jet so she probably has diabetes and sleep apnea,” surmised Capt. Wilson. “I have no idea what meds she’s supposed to be on, in case you were wondering.” With that, the Capt. Wilson hung up.
“I figured,” Dr. Thompson said to himself. These consults are last minute. Every. Single. Time! Taking a deep breath, he started what would be his first perioperative evaluation for noncardiac aviation. Just as he got up out of his seat, Capt. Wilson called back.
“After you’re done and I land this sucker, I’m turfing her over to your service,” Capt. Wilson added. “Placement. At Gate B21.”