During her flight on July 15, 2021, from Fort Lauderdale to New York City, pilot Kyra McGrath knew she didn’t feel right. The nine-year JetBlue pilot from Syracuse initially felt abdominal cramping, but by the time she landed her Airbus A320 full of passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the pain was unmanageable, and she needed to be rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Kyra had some initial hesitations “At first I didn’t want to go to Jamaica Hospital, but the paramedics convinced me that it was the right place to go.” Thankfully she listened as she was immediately treated by the Emergency Department team and a CT scan revealed that her large intestine was about to rupture. Dr. William Nugent, the surgeon on-call, successfully performed an emergency colectomy and end ileostomy.
After the surgery, Kyra’s opinion about the hospital changed dramatically as she stated, “After my experience I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. I couldn’t ask for a better crew to save my life.” She also praised Dr. Nugent, who she affectionately began referring to as “Nuge”. She added, “He was awesome. He checked on me every day after my surgery and did a great job communicating with my entire family. There was nothing we couldn’t ask him.”
The surgery was only the first challenge that Kyra had to endure though. The complex procedure required extensive recuperation. Kyra explained how during her 16-day admission she lost nearly 30 pounds, but she credits the hospital team with making an uncomfortable situation manageable. “I really got to know all the nurses, but I want to especially thank the night nurses as they were there for me after my husband and parents left. They provided me with comfort when I was alone. I would also like to acknowledge the wound care team who patiently taught me how to change my ostomy bag and dressings.”
Thankfully, Jamaica Hospital’s surgical team did such a great job, the procedure, which required Kyra to temporarily use an ostomy bag, was able to be reversed, allowing her to continue flying. “I have been flying since I was 17 years old. If not for Dr. Nugent and the entire team at Jamaica Hospital, I would have had to give up my life-long passion. I thank everyone at Jamaica Hospital from the bottom of my heart.”
Kyra is currently completing her required re-certification and is anxiously awaiting returning to work as a pilot for JetBlue.
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