Two years back, a 25 year-old woman from South Carolina was flying home from Hawaii on American Airlines with her husband Cory.
During the middle of the flight, the woman, Brittany Oswell didn’t feel well and eventually fainted. When she regained consciousness, a doctor onboard spoke with her and thought that she was suffering from a panic attack.
The family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against American Airlines.
Fox News reports that, “According to the lawsuit, a few hours later, as the plane was flying over Albuquerque, N.M., Cory took Oswell to the lavatory, where she collapsed on the floor, vomited and defecated on herself.”
The lawsuit also mentions that Oswell was once again checked by the doctor who told the flight crew to let the pilot know that the plane should be diverted to the closest airport so she could receive medical treatment.
The doctor spoke with the pilot about the situation. However, after consulting with a doctor on the ground, the pilot decided to head to the flight’s final destination, Dallas, TX, which was another hour and a half away.
While trying to help Oswell, the doctor had issues due to medical equipment which wasn’t working on the plane. One blood pressure machine wasn’t working and the other was giving error messages. After Oswell stopped breathing, the doctor tried using the defibrillator but no shock was given. Fox writes that, “Flight crew and the doctor then took turns administering CPR, but Oswell never regained consciousness.”
Once the plane landed, Oswell was brought to Baylor Medical Center. Three days later, she was declared brain dead and taken off life support.
The family is suing American Airlines due to negligence for not diverting the plane.
This is certainly a tragic situation. I do wonder what information determines grounds for a flight to be diverted? Does the pilot go with the word of the doctor onboard or the doctor on the ground who hasn’t seen the patient?
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