Emergency tracheotomies ‘not as easy as they look on TV’


An inquiry in London today heard the evidence of a passenger who performed a mid-air tracheotomy on a fellow passenger, who got into difficulty during a recent transatlantic flight. Tom Belvedere, 43, who has no medical training, carried out the complex procedure on 29-year-old Suzanne Kirby. The operation that involves making an incision into the windpipe and blowing air into the lungs is only recommended as a last resort, if life is in danger.

‘It wasn’t easy I can tell you’ said Tom, ‘What with the turbulence and only a plastic knife and fork to cut with, it’s a miracle she made it through. Thank heavens I am a fan of medical shows and I have seen it before. But those pros make it look easy. Getting the pen in was a right bastard! Messy as hell too.’

However, Mr James Knight, the consultant who treated Ms Kirby on the ground was highly critical of the would-be doctor. Whilst he commended Mr Belvedere’s intentions as genuine, he warned other passengers about attempting mid-air surgery. ‘It’s always best to seek a qualified medical practitioner. It’s also pretty important to make sure that the patient is actually in need of a life saving operation before you go carving her up and sticking a tube in her throat. It’s also not advisable to perform surgery when you are pissed.’

Mr Knight’s comments came after the inquest heard evidence directly from the ‘patient.’ Speaking softly, the attractive, Ms Kirby said that Mr Belvedere, who had been drinking throughout the flight, had been ‘a bit too chatty’ and ‘bordering on the annoying.’ She described how she coughed slightly and reached for some water saying that she had something in throat. ‘The next think I know Mr Belvedere had picked me up and carried me to the back of the plane, he was demanding brandy from the cabin crew which he sloshed on my neck, I was frozen in fear, thank God I passed out, when I woke up I was in hospital, with real doctors, not that bloody clown.’

Mr Belvedere was arrested when he later turned up at the hospital, in a doctor’s coat, for what he called his ‘post-op rounds.’ It turns out he also has a number of convictions for indecent assaults on cattle, dating back to when he was a avid viewer of ‘All Creatures Great and Small.’

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Posted: Jun 15th, 2007 by

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