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Army veterinarian saves a passenger on flight

Army veterinarian saves a passenger on flight

Capt. Samantha Warner has been part of the Army family for her entire life. During a recent trans-Atlantic flight, she drew on her training and experience to provide basic life support to a fellow passenger in need.

Warner is the officer in charge of the Veterinary Treatment Facility at Royal Air Force Feltwell, United Kingdom. She and her team primarily work with Air Force patrol dogs that secure the installation, but also provide care to service members and their families' privately owned animals and inspect food that is served or sold to service members and their communities.

She was returning from a temporary duty assignment at Camp Pendleton, Calif,. recently when she stepped out of her comfort zone to provide basic life support to a fellow passenger.

"I woke up because I heard a woman yelling for help," Warner said. "None of the stewardesses were present at the time since it was the middle of the night. I got up and saw a man lying unconscious, face down in the airplane aisle."

She reacted immediately. Warner rolled the man onto his side to ensure an open airway, checked his vitals and provided him oxygen. She stayed by his side as he slowly regained consciousness and began to speak. She asked him questions related to his medical history, if he took any medication prior to the flight, and if he had a history of fainting or seizures. While this appeared to be an isolated event, she stayed with him to ensure his safety for an hour until he fully recovered from the event. The stewardesses maintained care for the duration of the flight. The passenger walked off of the plane with no further medical assistance needed. 

Warner says she relied on the basic lifesaving skills she learned as a Soldier and U.S. Army veterinarian. She drew on the resiliency and courage she developed growing up as motivation to conquer a difficult situation. 

"Everyone thinks someone else will help, or that they are not qualified enough but sometimes you just have to step out of your comfort zone and react," said Warner. "You could be the most qualified person after all." 

Warner was born at Fort Stewart, Ga., and is the daughter of a retired search and rescue pilot and real estate broker. Along with her mother and sister, she moved with her father all over the world during his twenty years of Military service.

She says the resiliency she developed from constant change was especially helpful when she decided to go to veterinary school and become an Army veterinarian.

Warner's father, Army Maj. (Ret.) Chris Warner, can attest to his daughter's character.

"The Army is a fantastic way of life, and one of the few opportunities to selflessly serve our great nation. I am extremely proud of Samantha for the woman that she has become and goals she has accomplished. I never expected her to follow in my footsteps and become an Army Officer, but I am extremely proud that she did."

During college and veterinary school, Warner raised service dogs for America's Vetdogs, an organization providing service dogs to disabled veterans and first responders free of charge. Warner raised nine dogs in 7 years.

"I love the bond animals and humans create," Warner said. "I always wanted to work with animals, and training service dogs helped me get a foot in the door and made me realize I would like to do more for them. Service, search and rescue, and military working dogs provide such a valuable service, and I do my best to ensure they receive the best care they can get."



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