The family of a woman who died on an American Airlines flight from Honolulu to Dallas is suing the air carrier, alleging inoperable in-flight medical equipment and refusal to make an emergency landing contributed to her death.
Twenty-five-year-old newlywed Brittany Oswell was flying from Honolulu to Lexington, South Carolina with a connection in Dallas in April 2016 when she suffered a pulmonary embolism and cardiac arrest.
According to USA Today, Ms. Oswell became dizzy and disoriented about three hours after departing from Honolulu. She started slurring her speech and then fainted, prompting her husband to call for the flight attendants.
Ms. Oswell regained consciousness as a doctor on board the flight examined her. She appeared to recover but a couple hours later she went to the lavatory where she vomited and collapsed. The same doctor was again summoned and, realizing the situation was much more serious than previously thought, urged the American Airlines crew to land in Albuquerque or another nearby airport, the lawsuit alleged.
Flight attendants took Ms. Oswell to the galley and administered oxygen. The doctor attempted to read her blood pressure with the in-flight medical equipment, but one cuff registered an error reading and the other was broken, the lawsuit alleged.
When Ms. Oswell’s pulse stopped, the doctor tried to revive her heartbeat with the onboard defibrillator but the device wouldn’t administer a shock after multiple attempts.
The flight attendants and doctor took turns administering CPR. According to the wrongful death complaint, the American Airlines plane landed in Dallas as scheduled, about two hours after Ms. Oswell collapsed in the lavatory.
Ms. Oswell was admitted to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, where doctors declared her brain dead and removed her from life support three days later.
“We absolutely felt like this was not taken very seriously,” Ms. Oswell’s mother, Tina Starks, told ABC News. “She’s no longer here to do anything with us and it’s all because someone made a business decision to keep flying a plane when she needed emergency medical help that they could not provide because of inadequacies on board the flight.”
The lawsuit was filed in federal court by Ms. Oswell’s husband and parents.