Bundy nurses save man from air-borne tomato death
"I OWE them my life."
It was a whirlwind flight for Whyalla man David Bryant, who nearly lost his life on a Virgin flight last week.
Travelling on the same flight were two Bundaberg nurses, a mother and son, who sprang into action when Mr Bryant had a severe allergic reaction to tomatoes.
"The big problem is that I'm allergic to airborne tomato particles," Mr Bryant told the NewsMail.
"We had told the airline, but there was nothing in the manifest about it and it wasn't even anything I ate."
A Virgin Australia spokeswoman said passengers who alerted the airline about an allergy were advised to fly at their own risk.
"While we do our best to accommodate individual passenger requests, we cannot guarantee a particular food item won't be present on a flight," she said.
Mr Bryant said he can't remember much of what happened but could remember feeling like he was under water, which was one of the nurses, Donna, pouring water over his face to cool him off and the big red beard of the other nurse, Shaun.
"I knew I was having a reaction because my lips started tingling (and) I had a hot flush - I can only describe it like someone had poured hot water all over me," he said.
"I took my tablets, that didn't work and then my wife hit me with an Epipen and then again after 10 to 15 minutes but it didn't do anything.
"It was terrifying, particularly for my wife and son - no one should have to see their father die from a tomato."
The Virgin spokesperson said cabin crew were trained to respond to in-flight medical emergencies and all Virgin planes were equipped with medical equipment.
Mr Bryant said he doubts he will ever board a "flying coffin" ever again.
"We were approached by registered nurse Donna and her son, an ICU nurse, they took me out of my seat and to the back of the plane," he said.
"They had a defibrillator, bag and tube - they thought my heart was going to stop.
"Thankfully they knew what they were doing.
Mr Bryant said the Bundy duo were helped by an Adelaide police officer and a Canadian paramedic, Erin, on board.
Within three hours of being rushed to Royal Adelaide Hospital, Mr Bryant said he felt fine.
Despite the ordeal taking place on the plane, hr said the airline had done nothing.
"We rang them while in the carpark and we were on the phone for 45 minutes and got nowhere - they kept saying that they had nothing to do with it and it was my fault," he said.
"Donna said it was one of the most severe cases of anaphylactic shock she'd ever seen.
"They haven't done a thing and it's been almost a week - if they don't give me a call, my lawyer will be giving them a call."
Mr Bryant said when Donna called him yesterday morning, he wanted to jump through the phone and give her a big hug.
"I am so thankful that complete strangers jumped to my assistance," he said.
Like true heroes, the Bundy nurses said they had more than enough publicity and speaking with Mr Bryant was lovely.