TAMPA, Fla. --  A nurse practitioner with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is being hailed a hero for her quick thinking in rendering aid to a sick passenger aboard a flight.

  • HSCO nurse practitioner stepped in to save a life onboard an American Airlines flight
  • The passenger was suffering from a stroke and inner ear rupture
  • Hill is being hailed a hero for her quick thinking

Kaeleigh Hill was returning to Tampa from a Caribbean vacation with her mother and aunt this week when a flight attendant called over the intercom asking anyone with a medical background for assistance. A fellow passenger was suffering from an apparent stroke and inner ear issues.

Without hesitation, she assisted the crew and stabilized the patient who was in extreme pain. Additionally, she discovered the man had ruptured his ear drum while diving and took measures to make the journey more bearable for him until they could land. 

"He definitely had some noticeable symptoms that were happening and of course, it would freak anybody out," said Hill.

Hill helped treat the man by administering oxygen and using warm towels and cups as makeshift medical supplies. Thanks to her efforts, they could continue the flight.

"You'd be amazed with what you can do with a cell phone light nowadays," Hill said.

The flight made an emergency landing in Miami where the man received further treatment. Hill and her relatives caught a later flight back to Tampa.

Hill comes from a law enforcement family with generations of service at HCSO. Although she didn't pursue law enforcement, its clear the apple did not fall far from the tree at all.

"Kaeleigh represents the essence of everything we stand for here at HCSO," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "She acted without hesitation to help another person when they needed it most. That makes her a hero in my book. I am extremely proud to have someone like her on our team.

Hill says she's no heroine; she was just doing her job.

"I like to help people and that's what we're put on Earth for is to help people and if I can do it, I'm going to do it, no matter where I am," Hill said.