1. Hess, Cathy Thomas BSN, RN, CWOCN, Department Editor

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A Hijacking Survivor Shares the Lessons She Has Learned

Motivational speaker and airline hijacking survivor Jackie Pflug will share her experiences and the lessons she learned from the ordeal in her lecture, "The Courage to Succeed," at the 19th Annual Clinical Symposium on Advances in Skin & Wound Care, September 30 to October 3, in Phoenix, AZ.


In 1985, Pflug was flying to Cairo, Egypt-where she lived and taught at the Cairo American School-from Athens, Greece, when 3 terrorists calling themselves "The Egypt Revolution" hijacked the flight. The pilot was forced to land in Valetta, Malta, and there, the terrorists began to execute 1 passenger every 15 minutes until their demands for fuel were met.


Like 4 passengers before her, Pflug was shot in the head at point-blank range, execution style, then thrown from the plane onto the tarmac and left for dead. She lay on the tarmac for 5 hours, drifting in and out of consciousness, until an airport grounds crew was sent to retrieve her "body" and take it to the morgue. Fifty-nine passengers were killed.


Pflug has had to adapt to the effects of being shot in the head and the resulting brain injury, including impaired vision and loss of short-term memory. She remains upbeat and inspiring, spreading a message of hope and encouragement.


"This experience has opened my eyes to all of those obstacles that consume us in our lives and careers," she said. "If I have learned anything, it's that we must look beyond those obstacles that get in our way and focus on what really matters.


"The people in your life are critical to your success, both personally and professionally. Each of us makes choices daily to be happy or sad, positive or negative. Choose wisely."


For more information on attending the Clinical Symposium on Advances in Skin & Wound Care, visit; call 215-628-7750; or e-mail