The 64-year-old small plane pilot who passed out in mid-flight and left his passenger with no flying experience to land the plane in Florida earlier this month has made a “miraculous” recovery after suffering a heart attack, his surgeon said .
Kenneth Allen has been discharged from Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and is recovering after undergoing nine-hour surgery to treat his ruptured aorta, his cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Nishant Patel told reporters.
“I mean, the story really is a miracle of a miracle. You know, in order for him to survive the event, acute type A dissection is really acute, it’s hyperacute, it’s happening suddenly,” Patel said.
Patel, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, said Allen not only survived the typical catastrophic injury but also made a remarkable recovery.
“At every step, it was really extraordinary that he made it,” said Patel. “The first thing he said to me the morning after the surgery was, ‘When can I go home?'”
Allen was flying a Cessna with two passengers on board from the Bahamas to Florida on May 10 when he blacked out in the cockpit, leaving Darren Harrison and his fellow passengers to fend for themselves.
An ambulance was waiting at the airport and Allen was first taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where he suffered from signs of a stroke that sagged the left side of his face and restricted movement on one side of his body.
Patel said when doctors discovered Allen required complex heart care, he was transferred to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.
When Allen arrived he was “confused and lethargic,” Patel said. He then underwent surgery to repair his aorta.
Patel and his team stopped blood flow to all organs except Allen’s brain, meaning his body temperature was cooled.
“When you chill someone that deep, the clock is ticking,” Patel said.
He left the hospital less than a week later and was recovering “remarkably well,” his surgeon said in a previous interview on NBC’s Today show.
Patel emphasized how rarely patients with similar injuries survive.
“Fifty percent of patients don’t make it to the hospital, and then 50 percent of the patients who do make it to the hospital die within 24 hours without prompt diagnosis and treatment,” Patel said Tuesday.
He added: “It’s something I’ve never seen before and probably never will see again.”
Meanwhile, Allen’s passenger said his own ability to land their plane, despite never having flown before, was also a miracle.
Harrison told the Today show this week that the “hand of God” was with him on the flight.
Harrison said he was relaxing with his flip-flop-clad feet in the back of the single-engine plane after a fishing trip in the Bahamas when the pilot told him and another passenger: “Guys, I have to tell you guys I didn’t do feel good.”
“He said, ‘I have a headache and I’m dizzy and I just don’t feel right,'” said the 39-year-old. “And I said, ‘What do we have to do?’ and at that point he was not responding at all.”
“Coming forward all I could see was water coming out the right hand window and I knew it was coming fast. At that point, I knew that if I didn’t respond, we were going to die,” Harrison told NBC.
Harrison said he relied on his “common sense” to line up the dive plane while reaching over Allen’s collapsed body.
“I was pretty calm and collected the whole time because I knew it was a matter of life and death,” he said. “Either you do what you have to do to control the situation or you will die.”
Harrison of Lakeland landed the plane at Palm Beach International Airport a short time later with the help of air traffic controller Bobby Morgan.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/05/20/pilot-kenneth-allen-has-miracle-recovery-after-passing-out-forcing-passenger-to-land/ Pilot Kenneth Allen undergoes a “miracle cure” after passing out, forcing the passenger to land