Elijah Alexander gives a captivating performance of medical doctor Richard D. Stewart’s harrowing memoir Flight for Life, a thrilling account of a rescue mission in Nigeria. In 1982, an S. C. Johnson Company chemical plant in Lagos exploded, burning 29 Nigerian workers. At the time, there was not a single burn care center across the entire continent of Africa. As time began to run out for the victims, S. C. Johnson Company coordinated efforts to convert an airplane into an intensive care unit to transport patients to receive the life-saving treatments they so desperately needed. But first, they had to survive a storm and 11 hours of travel.
The harrowing, true-life rescue of Nigerian burn victims and the race against time and distance...
Flight for Life is the heart-stopping account of one of the most gripping rescue missions in African history, told by a doctor involved in saving the lives of Nigerian workers who became victims of a tragic American chemical company explosion. Dr. Stewart and his colleague moved mountains and cut red tape to fly patients to one of the premiere burn centers in the United States. At the time of the S. C. Johnson Company chemical plant explosion in 1982, there were no burn care centers in Africa. Its hospitals lacked the most basic accommodations for burn victims and would usually sedate anyone who was badly burned until they died. When the S. C. Johnson Company’s foreign subsidiary, based in Lagos, Nigeria, had a ruptured butane gas line that exploded, burning the skin and clothing of 29 Nigerian employees, the company began a race against time to help the victims of the catastrophe.
Teaming with the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center, S. C. Johnson’s executives, and the U.S. embassies in England and Nigeria, Dr. Stewart (Johnson’s corporate medical director) converted a DC-10 airliner into an intensive-burn-care flying hospital, staffed by a London medical team to keep the patients alive during the 11-hour transatlantic crossing through an unexpected and dangerous storm at sea. This real-life rescue narrative illuminates the heroic lengths dedicated individuals will go to when lives are at stake.