Dr. Justin Allen ’11, and his wife, Duke Heart CVSSU team member Kaitlyn, are credited for saving a passenger’s life by performing CPR on a recent flight to North Carolina.

Justin and Kaitlyn Allen

Justin, a Duke hospitalist, and Kaitlyn were in Utah so that Justin could compete in the 2022 Half Ironman World Championship race held Oct. 29 in St. George, according to a report published on duke.edu. On Nov. 1 while flying home, a medical emergency was declared approximately 40 minutes into their three-hour flight.

The Allens were nearby when a flight attendant yelled for an AED. They immediately ran to the passenger’s aid.

When they arrived, another passenger – a pediatric physician assistant – was maintaining the passenger’s airway, but neither Kaitlyn nor the PA could feel a pulse. Kaitlyn immediately started chest compressions while Justin took over the airway and prepared the AED. 

After the second round of compressions, the patient began moving her arms and became responsive. With the passenger’s vitals stable, Justin cleared the patient’s cervical spine and she was able to sit upright, and eventually get back into a seat.

Ultimately the passenger arrived in stable condition and upon landing was handed off to paramedics for further evaluation.

According to Duke’s report, this is not the first time the Allen’s have been in an emergency situation together. The two worked together at Lakeland Health in St. Joseph, Michigan during Justin’s internal medicine residency. There, they worked together during rapid responses and code blues.

While at Wabash, Justin majored in biology and minored in chemistry. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta and ran on the cross country and track teams.