A family from South Carolina has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against American Airlines after a 25-year-old woman suffered an embolism midflight.
Brittany Oswell, a nurse from the Midlands area, was flying home from Hawaii with her husband Cory on American Airlines flight A102 on April 16, 2016, when she began to feel “dizzy and disoriented” and ultimately fainted. A doctor aboard the flight spoke with Oswell after she regained consciousness and initially believed she was suffering from a panic attack, per court documents obtained by Columbia’s The State.
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 doctor on the flight examined Oswell again and instructed the flight crew to notify the pilot so the plane could to be diverted to the nearest airport where she could receive medical attention.
The doctor then spoke with the pilot about Oswell’s symptoms, but after consulting with another doctor on the ground, the pilot decided to continue on to their destination of Dallas-Forth Worth, which was still about 90 minutes away, the lawsuit claims.
In his attempt to help Oswell, the doctor discovered the medical equipment on board the plane wasn’t functioning. One blood pressure machine was broken and the other was giving an error message. At this time, Oswell stopped breathing and no longer had a pulse. The doctor attempted to use the defibrillator, but despite three attempts, no shock was administered. Flight crew and the doctor then took turns administering CPR, but Oswell never regained consciousness.
Upon landing, Oswell was taken to Baylor Medical Center. Three days later, on April 18, 2016, she was declared brain dead and taken off life support. Her cause of death was listed as acute massive pulmonary embolism and cardiogenic shock, the lawsuit states.
Oswell’s family is now suing American Airlines, accusing them of negligence for failing to divert the plane, among other things, which they believe resulted in her death. They are seeking damages in an amount to be determined by a jury for severe emotional distress, anxiety, grief and sorrow.
The attorney for Oswell’s family, Brad Cranshaw, said they are currently waiting for American Airlines to answer the suit. “It’s a tragedy. We can’t go back in time. The airline can’t give us back Cory’s wife, but we’re interested to know what the airline plans to do,” he said.
A spokesperson for American Airlines released the following statement to Fox News: “We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we are looking into the details of the complaint.”