Flight Nurse from Greece comes to civilian’s aid during medical emergency

  • Published
  • By Spencer Berry
  • DLIELC International Field Studies Program

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas - Capt. Aikaterini Sigala, a Specialized Aviation English student, was in the classroom when she heard a loud sound in the hallway. As a flight nurse in the Hellenic Air Force, she instinctively wanted to check the source of the noise.

As it turns out, a male maintenance worker fell near the second-floor elevator and suffered a head injury because of an epileptic seizure. Defense Language Institute English Language Center personnel, Lacey Grindley, Joseph Leishman and Sigala, were the first to respond and immediately called 911.

With more than 13 years’ experience, Sigala immediately assessed the situation and began administering first aid on the young man’s injury. While waiting for paramedics to arrive, she was checking his vitals and communicating with him.

“I spoke to him, checked his pulse, and checked his eyes to make sure he was responding to my questions. When I asked for his name, he didn’t respond,” she said. “However, I could see that he recognized what I was asking him. I continued to check that he was awake and alert until the paramedics arrived.”

Once paramedics were on scene, Sigala relayed to them the treatment she had provided and recommended they conduct a CT scan and MRI on the patient. The medics then immobilized the young man’s neck before transporting him to a medical facility.

A few days later, Sigala inquired with the young man’s co-worker about his condition and learned he had been released from the hospital the same day. He is currently working at the office while he continues to recover from the accident.

For her heroic actions during this medical emergency, DLIELC leadership presented Sigala a Certificate of Appreciation and commander’s coin. Orlando Dona, Air Force Security Assistance Training Country Manager, also traveled to DLIELC to personally thank her. 

Sigala said her duty is to provide medical care during critical situations and lives by her personal motto, “When I can help, I help! It is in my nature.”

“The incident reaffirmed to me the significance of continuous training and preparedness,” she said.” “It highlighted the need for compassion and the ability to stay composed during emergencies. As a healthcare professional, it is my duty to be ready, willing, and able to provide care and support when the call for help comes.”

Sigala stressed that the incident should be a reminder about the value and importance of being trained in first aid.

“As a flight nurse I am always reminded to make a positive difference in someone's life, even during the most challenging circumstances,” she said. “This day was one of them. I am immensely grateful to have offered immediate assistance and am overjoyed that this man is now safe.”

The Defense Language Institute English Language Center fosters security cooperation and partnerships through English language training and cultural immersion extending services to more than 100 countries and providing support over 30 nonresident locations worldwide.