The family of Brittany Oswell, who died two years ago after suffering an embolism in the middle of a flight, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against American Airlines.
When Brittany and her husband Cory were flying from Honolulu, Hawaii to Dallas, Texas two springs ago, she became dizzy and disoriented and then fainted in the middle of the flight. The flight attendants found a doctor among the passengers to examine her. The doctor thought at the time that Brittany was having a panic attack.
It turns out that Brittany was worse off than the doctor though. A few hours later, she was lying on the floor of one of the plane’s lavatories. She vomited and defecated herself. The doctor urged for the crew to divert the plane to the nearest airport so that Brittany could get the medical help she needed. However, the pilots didn’t listen to the doctor’s request.
Brittany’s breathing and pulse dropped and the doctor and flight attendants tried to use a defibrillator on her three times. The lawsuit alleges, however, that no shock was administered. The flight crew still decided to continue to Dallas with about 45 minutes left until arrival.
After the plane landed, Brittany was taken to Baylor Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with anoxic brain damage and an acute embolism. She didn’t regain consciousness and was taken off life support three days later.
Brittany’s family claims that American Airlines was negligent and are seeking damages for emotional distress, anxiety, grief and sorrow.
Tina Starks, Brittany’s mother, said that Americans Airline should have diverted the plan as soon as they found out Brittany was suffering a medical emergency.
“We absolutely felt like this was not taken very seriously,” Starks said. “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 family’s lawyer, Brad Cranshaw, said that he expects a jury trial to begin in 12 to 18 months and said he will make sure to address that the doctor begged the pilot to land and that there was faulty equipment on the plane.
American Airlines issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
“We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we are looking into the details of the complaint.”