In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

January 31, 2024

Mayo physician called ‘angel in the sky’ for role in medical emergency aboard flight

By In the Loop

When a passenger flying to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for Christmas had a heart attack, he was in good hands — including those of a Mayo Clinic physician. Learn what happened when Raul Rosario-Concepcion, M.D., answered the question: "Are there any medical personnel on board?"


Raul Rosario-Concepcion, M.D., sees most of his patients with his feet firmly planted on the ground.

But Dr. Rosario-Concepcion, a physician in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic in Florida, recently made an exception.

As News4Jax reports, he was on a flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when a flight attendant announced a medical emergency and asked if there were any medical personnel on board.

Dr. Rosario-Concepcion, as well as another physician and a nurse practitioner, answered the call, heading to the front of the plane to assess passenger Eddie Barroso Perez, who was experiencing chest pain and dizziness.

"The team worked together to help save Perez's life," News4Jax reports, stabilizing Perez during the last hour of the flight.

The San Juan airport could have been the last place Dr. Rosario-Concepcion saw his "impromptu patient," as News4Jax calls Perez. Instead, the station recently arranged for the two men to reconnect on a video call.

"How are you?" Dr. Rosario-Concepcion asked when he saw Perez, who was recovering at his daughter's home. "It's nice to see you again."

Both Perez and his daughter, Elaine Clemons, expressed their gratitude to Dr. Rosario-Concepcion.

"I just want to thank you for taking care of my dad," Elaine said. "Without you angels in the sky, I don't know what we would have done."

As they chatted, reporter Vic Micolucci pointed out to Dr. Rosario-Concepcion, "You're never really on vacation when you're a doctor, I guess."

The good doctor agreed that was true. "We always try to help in any way we can," he said.

In true Mayo fashion, Dr. Rosario-Concepcion was quick to point out that what happened in the air was a team effort.

"He's humble, and credits the other medical professionals and flight attendants," Micolucci said.

As news anchor Joy Purdy observed, "What a perfect set of circumstances to have that coverage when something like that happens."

You can watch the News4Jax story below:

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