Pilot Refused To Make The Emergency Landing Insisted By A Doctor, Thus Causing The Death Of A 25-Year-Old Woman

Date May 3, 2018 13:05

In-flight emergencies are unfortunately a very common thing. Planes have to make an emergency landing due to a passenger's health condition approximately 50 times a day in the U.S., with around 44,000 of such cases happening every year worldwide.

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Airlines are aware of the risk and statistics, which is why the flight attendants are trained by medical professionals in order to be able to assist passengers. In addition, planes are equipped with automated external defibrillator, because one of the most common reasons for an in-flight medical emergency is the heart attacks.

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Nevertheless, sometimes, even the presence of a doctor and medical equipment can't ensure safety of the passengers. 

Tragic in-flight emergency

No matter how prepared the flight attendants are or the presence of a trained medical professional and proper equipment, tragedies happen. There are many cases when it's necessary to make an emergency landing, and that's when the life of a passenger depends on a pilot's decision.

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In 2016, Brittany Oswell was travelling with her husband from Honolulu to Dallas when she suffered an embolism due to pre-existing condition. A doctor, who was on board, tried to help the 25-year-old and advised the pilot that emergency landing is necessary. Upon consulting with an on-call physician, who wasn't on board, and with 90 minutes left until destination, the pilot decided against diverting the plane.

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A little while later, Oswell's heart stopped. Flight attendants and the on-board doctor tried to use a defibrillator, but it failed to function. The physician insisted on landing the plane but was once again denied. Once they arrived in Dallas, Brittany was transported to Baylor Medical Center. Unfortunately, she suffered a brain damage due to the lack of timely medical assistance and passed away. The family is now suing the American Airlines for negligence.

How to deal with a medical emergency on a plane

In-flight emergencies happen often but can be avoided and properly managed. To keep yourself calm, always remember that flight attendants are trained and can provide medical assistance. Moreover, the pilots always have contact with an assigned physician, who's capable of advising the plane staff on their actions.

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There are also several things you can do to ensure a safe flight for yourself and those around you.

  1. Always consult with your personal physician on whether it's safe to fly if you have a pre-existing heart condition.
  2. Evaluate your current health state. It's okay to board if you have a minor cold. However, it's absolutely advised against flying with a flu.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids. Maybe, you should buy a full bottle of water prior to a flight.
  4. Walk around the plane a little in order to avoid blood clots forming. It's especially necessary during a longer flight – sitting for long period of time prevent the blood from circulating in your legs.
  5. Never hesitate to ask a flight attendant for help.

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Never panic in an emergency situation, keep your cool, be prepared, and have a safe flight.

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