Governor Rescues Passenger During In-Flight Hawaii Medical Emergency

Governor Rescues Hawaii Passenger During In-Flight Medical Emergency

If you’re ever on a Hawaii flight with our Governor, and there’s a medical emergency, everyone knows there’s a doctor on board. That’s because Hawaii Governor Josh Green is also an Emergency Room Physician. His medical skills were needed recently on a flight from NYC to Honolulu.

As an aside, we almost met Governor Green last week at a reception sponsored by him and the First Lady of Hawaii, Jaime Green, at Washington Place in Honolulu. The reception still happened but without the governor. He was in NYC to participate in meetings at the United Nations and attend a governor’s conference. Little did anyone know at the time there would be a call like this on his return flight.

Delta Airlines

Is there a doctor onboard this Hawaii flight?

As frequent flyers, we have heard that more often than we would like to report on planes. Then too, editor Rob had his own incident years ago when he had a bad reaction to a cold medication and passed out cold on takeoff when returning to Hawaii. It can happen to anyone.

Last month, a United Airlines medical emergency on a flight bound to the mainland from Hawaii required the plane to return to Honolulu.

On his way back from New York, Governor Josh Green was the person to step forward and help a passenger on Delta Airlines Honolulu-bound flight 312. The flight departed New York’s JFK at 9:58 am and arrived in Honolulu at 3:52 pm. The governor reported the cause of the problem as a likely seizure.

The governor didn’t make it clear how far from landing in Hawaii the flight was at the time. Dr. Green was able to provide care until the plane landed. At that time, the aircraft was met by first responders who transported the passenger to the hospital for treatment, where he was reportedly in stable condition.

As a side note, it appears that the governor was seated in economy on the Delta flight. That flight is more than 10 hours in duration.

Medical emergencies on Hawaii flights.

These happen routinely, and airlines are well-equipped to handle them. This includes the help of trained flight crew members, telemedicine, and assistance from qualified medical professionals who may be on board. You don’t expect the help to come from the Governor of Hawaii, who is the only governor in the United States with a doctorate in medicine.

The Centers for Disease Control reports, “Medical emergencies occur on 1 of every 604 flights. The most common emergencies include syncope or presyncope, respiratory symptoms, nausea, and vomiting. For 90% of these emergencies, aircraft continue to their destination.”

The dreaded-for-every-reason overhead announcement requesting medical assistance for an in-flight emergency presents a unique situation for even a trained healthcare professional. That given the limited resources and constrained space obvious from Dr. Green’s photo.

Emergency room physician, Dr. Green, has had frequent opportunities to help with rescues as governor.

You may recall that Governor Green has been called on to render emergency assistance multiple times this year, the most recent of which was at a parade in Kailua earlier this month. Then just a month ago, here on Kauai, he came to the aid of another young man who was ejected from a truck bed on which he was sitting in a lawn chair. The man suffered a concussion due to that fall. Green provided emergency care until first responders arrived near Lihue Airport.

Other incidents at which Governor Green provided his medical expertise occurred on the Big Island when he came to the rescue of a driver whose car flipped over, as well as on Oahu when a woman had a seizure at an event the governor was attending.

Image courtesy of Gov. Josh Green.

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12 thoughts on “Governor Rescues Hawaii Passenger During In-Flight Medical Emergency”

    1. I know govenor Green personally. He doesn’t know me even though we spoke. I’m sure of it. It’s been over 15 years since we conversed. I used to work in downtown. He use walk/ exercise around the area. Walkman, scrub top, shorts. Spoke to anyone. Very caring and respectful. Even to the homeless. His views back then are the same as his views today. This man cares (about people) and Hawaii. This man is straight forward, honest, and caring. He never talks about himself, but always spoke well about others. I just wanted to tell everybody that voted for him, and those that didn’t too. This man is purely a good man. His success depends on beating the “machine” that holds 3 key seats in the senate. He will expose you.

  1. Governor Green got caught–unexpectedly–being the stand up guy that he is. Actually, it’s where he chooses to sit down that helps make him such a stand up guy. Our economy-class, flying governor sits with us in his 16 inch seat, legs cramped for 10 hours and eats the same prepared, in-flight food that we everyday taxpayers have to polish off. He is to be commended for doing this. Yes, he did get caught-he got caught doing the right thing.

    Our good Samaritan, doctor-governor is on the job for us saving both lives and tax payer dollars–and he really didn’t want anyone to know about it.

    For this, it is my privilege to call him Governor.

  2. I find it refreshing that the governor flies commercial. His contributions as a doctor are even more amazing. As a California resident, I think we got a dud in Gavin Newsom.

    1. Both one-party Democrat states, with Democrat governors. Hawaii’s governor walks-the-walk, the other just talks-the-talk.

      Aloha wins again. We got the better deal!

  3. That’s reassuring news, thanks guys, and we’ll hope the governor is on board if we ever have an issue! We’ve only had one real emergency on a Hawai’i flight. About a half hour after takeoff the call came “Is there a doctor on board?” and it turns out there were two of them. They rushed up front to help with a passenger who was by that time on the floor being tended to by flight attendants.

    Not long after the captain announced we were returning to Honolulu due to a medical emergency. After landing the passenger was taken off through a side exit near us on a stretcher and the two doctors were given applause by most of the passengers….except a gentleman sitting in front of us who loudly griped about being delayed. Other passengers responded by shushing him. Just think if that were you…always grateful when there’s a doctor around, though understand some are a bit reluctant due to possible lawsuits!

    1. Hi Michael.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with an in-flight medical emergency and the reaction of others on the flight.


    2. The doctors are covered by the “good Samaritan” law. Same goes for anybody helping in a car accident. The law was passed so that people would not hesitate in helping those in immediate need.

      We were on Hawaiian NYC – HNL last year when a medical emergency occurred. There was a nurse and EMT flying together who helped the passenger. After a while, the pilot detoured to Denver. Found out that the pilot was in touch with Hawaiian flight ops and the doctors on land recommended the detour to Denver. We got to HNL about 1 hr late.

  4. BOH,

    For the past year or longer, I’ve been unable to reach BOH from my computer (error messages). I’ve had to suffer through the torture of participating via my phone. That may be fine for a younger crowd, but not for this 78-year-old.

    I hope I’m not jinxing my new good luck!


    1. Hi Rod.

      We’re glad everything is working okay and that you’re back. We’ve made a lot of changes to the new website. Please be in touch if there’s ever a problem.


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