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Woman Dies on AA Flight Due to No Medical Equipment

Woman Dies on AA Flight Due to No Medical Equipment

Feb 26th, 2008, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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tom42: is anyone really sure what happened? Was the equipment really malfunctioning? I agree with dmlove - don't jump to conclusions until all the facts are out. And I stand by what I said - IF this woman indeed had heart trouble, was diabetic, hypertensive and obese, she shouldn't have been flying in the first place. Why put herself and everyone else at risk? I just tend to believe that people in an emergency situation do their best to help and am willing to bet that those flight attendants and doctors onboard did everything they could to help the woman - it's human nature to want to help someone in distress. Call me an optomist, but I work with doctors and know they lose sleep over some of the stuff people do to themselves, knowing the risks, and then scream when a doctor can't "fix it." My heart certainly goes out to this woman's family, but face it, the immediate reaction of almost everyone who has read this story (or versions of it) is "AA's gettin' sued!" not "what really happened?" People just need to calm down and NOT rush to judgement, on either side.
iowagirl is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 11:42 AM
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I think that regardless of what really happened, AA is going to get sued.

Who wins or loses will be determined by how AA-friendly the jury is.

From what I was able to read this morning there is very little if any fault attributable to AA.

The doctor appears to have said that the pulse was too week for any equipment to be used.

If I remember correctly, he said everything was functioning.
Myer is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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I have been on at least half a dozen flights when a medical emergency occured. Doctors on board were summoned, oxygen given, parademics waiting at the airport. It is always a very tense situation. Flying has its risks and getting sick on board is one of them.

I recently flew AA. In the row behind me were premature newborn twins. The pilot would not take off until small-enough-for-tiny-infants breathing tubes that fit the on- board oxygen tanks were delivered to the plane. We sat on the ground for over 90 minutes until the pilot was satisfied that it was safe for the babies to fly. The parents were mortified to be holding up the whole plane as they were given the OK by their doc to fly. (They never needed the oxygen.) I was impressed
(and slighty exasperrated I will admit) by the airlines' diligence.
vivi is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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I completely agree that people shouldn't rush to judgement. I have no idea what happened on board. It could be that the oxygen tanks were full and the defibrillator worked. I actually find that many people here are jumping to the other conclusion (that the airline did everything right, and even if they didn't who cares).
tom42 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Oxygen tanks are totally bombs. Didn't anyone else see Jaws?
lizziea06 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 02:13 PM
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Even in an emergency room, attempts to revive people sometimes fail. Occasionally this is due to some problem, but most often it is just that: staff tried, but failed.

Nytraveler, remember that the first reports are relying heavily on the testimony of someone not only in the first shock of grief, but one who is likely neither a doctor nor familiar with the equipment. It is one thing to see something (say, a defibrillator not administer a shock) and quite another to understand what this meant: was it indeed broken or did it simply sense, quite correctly, that a defibrillation hadn't occurred?

Remember that people tend to want to 'do something' in situations where sometimes not only can nothing be done, but nothing should be done. For example, people like to get antibiotics to treat respiratory viruses like colds or flu, notwithstanding that the antibiotics are useless in such situation, and worse yet could cause side effects.

Similarly, people such as this woman's relative might have felt comforted by seeing staff treat her with defibrillators, etc., notwithstanding that this might not be the best treatment - indeed, in the wrong circumstances, shocking her heart might have only hastened her ultimate demise.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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"I actually find that many people here are jumping to the other conclusion (that the airline did everything right, and even if they didn't who cares)."

Whether it's a criminal case or a civil case, yes, the assumption *IS* that the airline did everything right, unless it can be affirmatively proven that it didn't. What that burden of proof is varies in criminal and civil cases.

But for purposes of this discussion, if we really don't know what happened, and in the absence of proof to the contrary, the default is that the airline did everything correctly. I hope people who don't grasp that concept don't serve on juries.
bennyb is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 02:42 PM
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Newspapers reported today that the woman was also a diabetic.

Finally, a couple of responses to posts above:

high-pressure O2 = bomb

scuba tanks are not O2 ... they are "regular" air and, because they're under high pressure, they can blow up as in "Jaws"
Gekko is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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Oxygen is not flammable.
It is classified as a non-flammble gas in the hazardous material tables (UN 1072).

It is considered a Hazardous material because it is powerful Oxidizer and will accelerate a fire greatly.

Pildredge is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 03:19 PM
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Gekko, here's a newsflash -- don't believe everything you see in the movies.

From mythbusters -- an organization that disproves bogus movie happenings -- here they disproved the scuba tank explosion in Jaws:

"Setup and Test

Adam and Kari built a foam shark head to hold the scuba tank. A 30-06 rifle was positioned at point-blank range. The entire setup was placed in a shipping container to contain any explosion. The FBI experts also attached C4 to the tank just in case it didn't explode and needed to be disposed of safely.

They tested first with empty tank to see if the bullet could go through bottom of the tank as it did in the movie. Adam didn't think it would go through, despite the fact that the 30-06 pierced two plates of bulletproof glass in a previous mythbusting. The result: it went completely through.

They next tested shooting a full tank through the bottom. The tank flew around the tank like a rocket, reminiscent of CO2 cartridge cars.

They also shot the tank through the side just in case anyone complained and got similar results (note: the bullet didn't make it through both sides of the tank). Their final test wasn't really a test. In order to make thing go 'boom' they decided to blow up the tank with C4. It made a good blast that dented the side of the container and shredded the foam shark head. Half of the tank was blown off, though the rest of it looked pretty solid still.

mythbusted: a bullet could not cause the tank to explode.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Here's an off-topic "mythbuster": I've seen a scuba tank explode, during a hydrostatic test at a seminar at Duke University.

If it wasn't a "bomb," then I don't know what is.

More info:

Gekko is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 03:28 PM
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(link above -- scroll down for the explosion photos)

Gekko is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 03:45 PM
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What does any of that have to do with shooting one with a bullet and causing it to explode? Yes, those tanks burst (actually split open) and seem to show defective aluminum alloy in their manufacture, but NONE of them exploded because they were shot with a bullet like in JAWS.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 04:08 PM
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Neo Patrick -

No - it wasn't a quick judgment causing me to decide never to fly AA. I have avoided flying them for at least the last 10 years. Not because of any perceived safety issues but because I have found their customer service to be far worse than any other airline I have flown.

And - I have had several jobs in which I flew frequently - more than 100 flights a year for at least 15 years - on all major carriers. Naturally I was a highest level frequent flyer on most of them - and AA was the least helpful, most uncooperative and rudest overall - by a factor of 3 or 4. Every time there was a problem they would do their best to make it worse, rather than helping. And they are the worst at admitting flights are cancelled; several times I checked just before leaving for the airport, was informed flights were taking off - and got to the airport to find flights were cancelled long before I called.

The facts of the specific issue in question have yet to be clarified.

But my opinion of AA - I believe understandably extremely negative - has not ben worsened.

(And I don;t hold grudges - they just kept getting worse and worse. Another major airline nearly killed me once - but it was a singular incident - and I still rate them way higher than AA.)
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 09:08 PM
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Sorry, you misunderstood me. I never said your negative feelings against AA were "a quick judgement". Nor was I even questioning your feelings against them. I was merely suggesting that lawyers rely on people who have strong prejudices against corporations to help get them huge settlements for their clients. They love to find someone who already is totally "against" the defendant. It's much easier to convince them that the defendant was at fault. Your statements in the original post here made before any real "evidence" was given makes you a perfect jury member for such a team. Because you "heard" that someone died on the plane without knowing the circumstances involved you have announced that "I would never consider flying them" makes you a good candidate to take action against your "hated" airline. That's all.

On the other hand, forgive me for not interpreting your post as "perhaps the airline was not at fault. I'd rather hear the full story before passing judgment agains them". If that's what you meant by your post, then YES I misunderstood it, and I apologize.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 05:52 AM
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"or did it simply sense, quite correctly, that a defibrillation hadn't occurred? "

Ack! Sorry, that should read, "that a fibrillation hadn't occurred."

Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 06:21 AM
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bennyb -thanks for the lesson on jury trials. I always thought it was the other way around!
tom42 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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tom42, just an aside - I once watched as a woman was removed from jury service "for cause" because the defense lawyer asked her, "if you had to make a decision right now, with no evidence presented, what would it be?" And she answered she didn't know because she had to hear all sides. That seemed reasonable, right? But no, the "correct" answer was to find for the defendant, because without any evidence presented, the other side didn't meet its burden of proof. I've never forgotten that.
bennyb is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 10:36 AM
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Wow, bennyb, that is a great story!
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