Twin sisters save woman with medical emergency mid-flight from Boston to Florida

Twin sisters who were on a flight together from Boston to Fort Myers, Fla., recently helped save the life of a woman who was suffering a diabetic emergency aboard the plane and was found unresponsive in the restroom. 

The dramatic scene played out in front of other passengers — and the sisters, who are in their late 20s, didn’t hesitate to assist a stranger in trouble.  

Nicole Kelly, a traveling nurse as well as a nurse at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Mass., and her sister Lindsay Byrne, a firefighter and paramedic with the Wayland, Massachusetts, Fire Department, were both aboard a JetBlue aircraft on Monday, August 1, when a flight attendant requested help from anyone on board who had a medical background.

The sisters heard the request announced over the plane’s intercom.    

Kelly told Fox News Digital, “I had just woken from a nap and heard that the medical team had been activated — and about a minute later the flight attendant asked for any and all medical personnel available to help.” 

The two sisters did not have seats next to each other. 

Lindsay Byrne
Lindsay Byrne is a firefighter and paramedic.
Facebook/Wayland Massachusetts F

But Nicole Kelly said she saw her sister, Lindsay, “run up there first. The woman was unresponsive in the bathroom — we got her out but weren’t sure [at first] what was going on with her.” 

Kelly added, “When we had her out, we heard a faint beeping — that’s when we noticed it was a blood sugar monitor. So we knew it was her blood sugar and that it was a diabetic emergency.” 

The sisters “had to improvise,” she said, “when we found out what was going on. We got some sugar packets and put the sugar under her tongue until it helped her regain consciousness.” 

Nicole Kelly
Nicole Kelly is a nurse.
Facebook/Wayland Massachusetts F

Kelly noted that when the woman awoke, “she was confused and too weak to sit up in the seat.” 

So the pair stayed with her, never leaving her side for the rest of the flight. That lasted for “about 45 minutes, until the plane landed,” said Kelly.

“The plane actually landed while we were kneeling in the aisle with her, right behind the cockpit,” Kelly told Fox News Digital.

Then, “as soon as we landed, a team of medical staff was waiting for her. As far as we know, she was traveling alone.”

Kelly said that medical staff took the woman away “to treat her while we explained to the paramedic what had happened.”

Her twin sister, Lindsay Byrne, shared her perspective with Fox News Digital as well. 

JetBlue executives expressed their gratitude to the sisters in a statement.

“When we heard they needed help, there wasn’t much to think about. For me as a firefighter and paramedic, tones go off several times throughout the day — and I don’t always know what the call is.”  

She added, “You try to figure out what you’re dealing with when you get there. When they said ‘medical emergency,’ they didn’t say what was going on until we got up there.” 

“The attendant just said,” Byrne noted, “that the woman was unresponsive and she didn’t know what to do, she couldn’t feel for a pulse, said she wasn’t breathing.”

“It was just my instinct to get up and go. I am just so used to getting up and going when I hear the tones and I never know what I am responding to until I get there,” she said.

Kelly said that for her, “Working several shifts in the ER — I see a little bit of everything.”

She noted that “the people sitting next to me on the plane told me they’d never seen people move so quickly. I didn’t think twice — I just think somebody needs help and I need to go. Your brain kicks in and you naturally go because you have to save a life.”

Said Lindsay Byrne, “All of these airlines are supposed to carry certain medical equipment, but we didn’t know what they had available — we had to improvise.”

She said that “with diabetics — because their levels can go so low so quickly — you can use food and sugar to treat a patient, which was available.”

Said Kelly, “We went into [it]  like, ‘It’s an airplane, OK. What could we use?’”

Nicole Kelly said that both women got into their respective fields “starting out as junior firefighters in the 6th grade.” 

Said Kelly, “I knew I wanted to do more in the medical field and always wanted to be a nurse. I applied to nursing school and got through it — I knew it was a right choice for me.”

As for Lindsay Byrne and her chosen profession, she said, “I always said I wanted to be a firefighter. I was dead set on it.”

“Once I became a firefighter 10 years ago, I knew I couldn’t be one without getting into the medical field in some way.”

She also said, “The more I did, the more I realized I liked it. That’s when I wanted to get my paramedic license.”

Byrne said as well, “Typically when we treat patients, we try to figure out any allergies first, so we never ended up getting her name.” 

She added about the woman on board the flight, “I think it would be cool to meet her and know that she had a good outcome and is doing well. When you see people who were in a traumatic crisis, and then you see them later on and see them on the other end, it’s cool knowing you played a role in that.”

Byrne also pointed out, “It’s not about them thanking you. It’s knowing you played a role.”

Her sister agreed with that. 

Said Kelly, “It’s not about a ‘thank you.’ It’s about the fact we were able to be in the right place at the right time. We’re happy knowing we were able to do something with a positive outcome.”

Wayland Fire Department Chief Neil McPherson commended the sisters, saying in a press release, “Incidents like these are what first responders and medical professionals train for.”

He added, “Seeing this training and professionalism kick into action beyond our small community and in an environment with limited resources is a proud moment for the department that made a difference in someone’s life.”

In a statement to Fox News Digital, JetBlue Airways’ corporate communications manager, Derek Dombrowski, said, “We would like to thank these customers who graciously stepped up to assist our crew members when another customer suffered a medical problem on board.”

JetBlue added, “Our team is always so appreciative when trained medical personnel are willing to support our crew members in these situations.”

JetBlue also sent the two sisters an email thanking them for their assistance, Dombrowski noted — “and offered them a future travel credit as a token of our appreciation.”

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