Nurse.org is reporting that the survivors of 25-year-old nurse Brittany Oswell have begun a wrongful death claim against American Airlines in connection with her April 15, 2016 death while on a plane.
On the date in question, the young nurse became ill while flying on an American Airlines flight from Hawaii to South Carolina. She was returning from her honeymoon with her new husband, Cory. According to the lawsuit filed, Oswell became disoriented and dizzy on the trip, fainting while the plane was midair. A doctor on the plane examined her and believed she was having a panic attack at the time.
Around one to three hours after the assessment by the doctor, her husband found her on the floor in the plane bathroom, where she had vomited. The doctor tried to take her blood pressure, and she briefly regained consciousness while he was doing so. When the plane neared Albuquerque, New Mexico, the doctor asked the crew to land at the nearest airport possible, and he reportedly made this request three times. Allegedly, the pilot spoke to another doctor and decided the plane would not be diverted. Instead, it flew for another hour and a half to the airport at Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas, its original destination.
Shortly after the plane resumed its trip, Oswell became unconscious again. The doctor could not find a pulse and took emergency actions, including CPR, defibrillation and the administration of epinephrine. Court documents state the defibrillator failed to administer a shock and the young nurse never regained consciousness during this time. She was taken to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, where she was pronounced brain dead and died three days later. According to reports, Oswell suffered a massive pulmonary embolism and her heart was unable to pump enough blood throughout her body.
In the wrongful death claim, her family alleges that American Airlines’ failure to divert the plane and make a landing as soon as possible resulted in Oswell not receiving proper care in a timely manner, which ultimately led to her death. It also cites the fact there was no properly functioning medical equipment on her flight.
Tina Starks, Oswell’s mother, says the family felt the matter was not taken seriously. She noted her daughter is no longer with her family, and it’s because a person made a business decision to keep a plane flying when Oswell needed emergency medical care the airline staff could not provide because of inadequacies on the plane itself.
American Airlines has since released a statement about the tragic incident, saying that their prayers and thoughts are with Oswell’s family at this time. The company also reiterated that passenger safety is something they take very seriously, and that the details of the complaint are being investigated.
When one party behaves negligently toward another party, losses, injury and even death can result. If you have lost a loved one due to the actions or inaction of another entity or person, speak to an experienced attorney, like Denver personal injury lawyer, about your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into airplane accident cases.