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Nurses save life on PBIA-bound flight, work together at same hospital months later

Posted at 3:13 PM, Jan 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-01 15:13:20-05

PORT ST LUCIE, Fla. — A nursing student is now reunited with a nurse who she met on a flight where the two helped save a man’s life as they both now work at HCA Florida St. Lucie Hospital.

Back in May, Rio Ratermanis, a nurse and clinical educator at HCA Florida St. Lucie Hospital, was on a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Palm Beach International Airport with Mina Emmons, who was a nursing student at the time.

“As we’re up in the air, I could hear a commotion in the back,” Ratermanis said. “And then they said are there any medical personnel on the flight, doctors or nurses and they were like go, go.”

Ratermanis told WPTV a man toward the back of the plane was having a medical emergency.

“As I got to the seat, I saw this young lady holding c spine stabilization behind the gentleman who was ill and I was like good job, excellent, airway first, hi everybody,” Ratermanis said, talking about Emmons.

“I was just like nope, we’re gonna breathe, if there’s anything I know how to do, you’re gonna breathe today. Today, you’re breathing,” Emmons told WPTV, recalling that moment.

“We got everything stabilized, everything was great otherwise, got him off safely and taken care of,” Ratermanis said.

That’s when Emmons said she had an idea.

“I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to go. I’m from North Carolina and I moved to Florida and I’m like where can I go that’s good for new people,” Emmons said.

“She pops over the seat, she goes where are you, where are you and I said, I’m at St. Lucie Hospital," Said Ratermanis. "And she goes I’m gonna work under you. I’m gonna go where you are, I’m gonna learn under you and I was like okay,” Ratermanis said.

Months later, that became a reality.

The two were reunited at Mina’s orientation that Ratermanis was running.

“I like to ask them what did your family say when you said you wanted to be a nurse?” Ratermanis said. “When I got to Mina she goes oh I was already in nursing school but I came here because of you Rio, remember the plane? And I was like what!”

So as a new year begins, these two are looking back and remembering a moment that became a big highlight of 2023.

“Thank you for being on the flight with me,” Emmons said to Ratermanis.

“Thank you for not missing the flight!” Ratermanis responded.