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Cats on a plane, revisited

Posted by Ishani Ganguli  June 21, 2013 07:00 AM

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Soon after posting a blog entry on airplane medicine, I got an email from Jodi Larson, an Associate Director for my residency program and Assistant Chair at Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s Department of Medicine. Turns out, the cat story is true and she was one of its (non-feline) protagonists. 

A few details had been lost along the way: About ten years ago, Jodi was flying from Boston to her then job in San Francisco. Along with a pediatric resident from Children’s Hospital Boston, she answered the distressed call of teenagers who had chosen a cross-country flight for their house-cats’ first real world outing and had medicated them with Librium (an anxiety medication in the same drug class as Xanax and Ativan) to withstand the journey. The pediatric resident wouldn’t give up on the cat that had already died, so Jodi had to physically pull him off to focus on the one with a fighting chance. They did, in fact, place a breathing tube in the second cat before connecting with an on-ground veterinarian who guided them on cat-appropriate treatment to reverse Librium’s effects. Cat number two survived.

The flight attendants rewarded Jodi with airplane wine and her husband with several beers. A month later, she found a flight voucher and a thank you note in her mailbox. Her act of heroism even helped launch her career: During her interview with the head of hospital medicine at Newton-Wellesley, she writes in an email, her potential boss asked her how she felt about cats: "I replied I don’t particularly like them but I had coded a cat a few weeks before on a flight. She loved it and I am sure that is why I got hired."
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Ishani Ganguli, MD, is a journalist and a second-year resident physician in internal medicine/primary care at Massachusetts General Hospital. She studied biochemistry and Spanish at Harvard College and received her More »

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