Mother says nurse saved her baby's life on airplane: 'She's a rock star'

Elise Solé
Janay Flowers of San Antonio, Tex., says a nurse and crew members of American Airlines saved the life of her baby, who experienced a seizure during a flight. (Photo: Facebook/Janay Flowers)

Mother Janay Flowers says she is indebted to a “rock star” nurse for saving her baby’s life on an airplane.

On Thursday, Flowers, a model from Tampa, Fla., was flying with her infant Nevaeh on American Airlines to San Antonio, Tex., where her husband, a member of the U.S. Air Force, will be stationed, reported The Dallas Morning News. Nevaeh, who had a slight fever, mostly slept on the three-hour flight. But 15 minutes before landing, the 11-month-old woke up crying.

“Suddenly, she started jolting in my arms,” Flowers, 28, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I stood up and pressed the call button and a woman ran over to my aid.”

Tiffany Lehman, 37, a registered nurse from Wichita, Kan., was traveling with her chiropractor fiancé Alvin Dodson, after attending a medical convention in Tampa. They heard Nevaeh’s cries, and then, after calling for ice packets, stripped Nevaeh of her onesie and diaper and applied the cold packs to the back of her neck, groin and armpits.

Nevaeh’s seizure lasted seven-and-a-half minutes. “I laid her sideways on my lap because she was vomiting,” Lehman tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Alvin ran to get oxygen and alert the pilots.”

Janay Flowers says a nurse traveling onboard an American Airlines flight treated her baby Nevaeh's seizure. (Photo: William Stambaugh)

But when the couple administered the oxygen, Nevaeh’s heart rate dropped to 60 beats per-minute —half the normal heart rate of a comparably-sized baby— and she stopped breathing.

“Nevaeh’s tongue was rolled back and blocked her airway, so I reached inside her mouth and swept the area with my finger,” Lehman tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I thought she was going to die in my arms.”

With the crew keeping passengers calm and Flowers standing by her daughter singing, “You are my Sunshine,” Nevaeh started breathing again. However, another seizure came on and Nevaeh clenched her fists, turning blue and foaming at the mouth.

Lehman administered more oxygen and the plane landed in Dallas, where Nevaeh and Flowers were taken to Baylor Regional Medical Center in Grapevine.

“The doctor said Nevaeh’s seizure was isolated due to how fast her fever spiked,” Flowers tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Her risk for future seizures has doubled, but it’s still low.”

Tiffany Lehman, a nurse, and Alvin Dodson, a chiropractor, saved the life of a seizing baby on an airplane. (Photo: Facebook/Tiffany Lehman)

An American Airlines representative tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “We are grateful that Nevaeh is doing better and wish her and her family the best. This medical emergency last week highlights the tremendous care and professionalism of American’s team members, and specifically, in this situation, our flight attendants and DFW team. We are proud of our colleagues and are grateful to them and our customers, who also stepped up to help a family in need, for their quick actions.”

Flowers and Lehman befriended each other on Facebook over the weekend and will FaceTime on Monday evening, so Flowers can meet Lehman’s 13-year-old son and Dodson’s 3-year-old daughter.

The family and crew members from American Airlines are all invited to Nevaeh’s May 19th birthday party.

“Tiffany is a rock star,” Flowers tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “God put us together.”

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