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Dying woman twice refused oxygen on flight (American Airlines)

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Dying woman twice refused oxygen on flight (American Airlines)

Old 02-25-08, 08:43 AM
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Dying woman twice refused oxygen on flight (American Airlines)

Struggling to breathe, American Airlines passenger Carine Desir asked for oxygen, but a flight attendant twice refused her request, the woman's cousin said.

"Don't let me die," the cousin, Antonio Oliver, recalled Desir saying after the attendant allegedly refused at first to administer the oxygen Friday.

But Desir did die, Oliver said Sunday in a telephone interview.

He said the flight attendant finally relented but various medical devices on the plane failed, including two oxygen tanks that were found to be empty and what may have been a defibrillator that seemed to malfunction.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/02/25/fli....ap/index.html

I think American Airlines is about to be sued big time!
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Old 02-25-08, 09:08 AM
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If the plane is going to carry oxygen tanks and a defibrillator, they had better be in ready condition!
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Old 02-25-08, 09:22 AM
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"Well, we didn't think we'd actually have to use it!"
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Old 02-25-08, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
If the plane is going to carry oxygen tanks and a defibrillator, they had better be in ready condition!

something tells me those are not checked very frequently
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Old 02-25-08, 09:50 AM
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These stories always trip me out. Why are some people just dicks like this? The air Marshal would have an eventful day if this happened to me with a loved one.
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Old 02-25-08, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by j123vt_99
something tells me those are not checked very frequently
rumor has it the cabin and flight crews use them on occasion to help with hangovers, so they end up empty.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:01 AM
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I'm not sure that the guy isn't just messed up over his loss and throwing some blame around. I saw the posts here and the comments seemed reasonable, but I just read the MSNBC article and it points out a couple of things.

I guess the guy claims that the defibulator wasn't "functioning effectively" ....it sounds like he expected them to hook her up and poof! she would be back with no problems. Those things aren't automatically going to cure you or anything.

He said that the two oxygen tanks were empty, but the article says they carry 12 tanks on board. They are small tanks, maybe they used one up, got another, used it up and he was upset they kept running out of oxygen?

I wonder if she didn't refuse to get the oxygen, but needed to go up front and call the captain to tell him what was going on first. He said she made a call and then brought oxygen to them after refusing once.

They also said there were doctors and nurses helping her, it doesn't sound like there was a lack of performance on the crews part...or certainly a lack that would have kept her from recovering.


I dunno, just some points I picked up.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:05 AM
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I think its the 2 refusals. If the attendant would've took her seriously, the doctors would've been involved sooner. Would it have helped, who knows.
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Old 02-25-08, 05:06 PM
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Things may not be so clear-cut...

Feb 25, 1:47 PM EST

Airline Disputes Cousin's Story of Death

By RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press Writer
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NEW YORK (AP) -- American Airlines on Monday insisted it tried to help a passenger who died after complaining she couldn't breathe, and disputed the account of a relative who said that she was denied oxygen and that medical devices failed.

The airline said the oxygen tanks and a defibrillator were working and noted that several medical professionals on the flight, including a doctor, tried to save passenger Carine Desir, 44, who had heart disease.

"American Airlines, after investigation, has determined that oxygen was administered on the aircraft, and it was working, and the defibrillator was applied as well," airline spokesman Charley Wilson said Monday.

Desir had complained of not feeling well and being very thirsty on the Friday flight home from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after she ate a meal, according to Antonio Oliver, a cousin who was traveling with her and her brother, Joel Desir. A flight attendant gave her water, he said.

A few minutes later, Desir said she was having "trouble breathing" and asked for oxygen, but a flight attendant twice refused her request, Oliver said.

"Don't let me die," he recalled her saying.

He said other passengers aboard Flight 896 became agitated over the situation, and the flight attendant, apparently after phone consultation with the cockpit, tried to administer oxygen from a portable tank and mask, but the tank was empty.

Oliver said two doctors and two nurses were aboard and tried to administer oxygen from a second tank, which also was empty. Desir was placed on the floor, and a nurse tried CPR, Oliver said. A defibrillator, which he called a "box," also was applied but didn't function effectively, he said.

Oliver said he then asked for the plane to "land right away so I can get her to a hospital," and the pilot agreed to divert to Miami, 45 minutes away. But during that time Desir collapsed and died, Oliver said.

"Her last words were, 'I cannot breathe,'" he said.

There were 12 oxygen tanks on the plane and the crew checked them before the flight took off to make sure they were working, Wilson said. He said at least two were used on Desir.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires commercial flights to carry no fewer than two oxygen dispensers. The main goal of the rule is to have oxygen available in the event of a rapid cabin decompression, but it can also be used for other emergencies. It is up to the airlines to maintain the canisters.

Flight attendants are trained not to automatically give oxygen to every passenger who requests it but instead use airline criteria to judge when it's needed, said Leslie Mayo, a spokeswoman for the union representing American's attendants.

Wilson said Desir's cousin flagged down a flight attendant and said the woman had diabetes and needed oxygen. "The flight attendant responded, 'OK, but we usually don't need to treat diabetes with oxygen, but let me check anyway and get back to you.'"

Wilson said the employee spoke with another flight attendant, and both went to Desir within one to three minutes.

"By that time the situation was worsening, and they immediately began administering oxygen," he said.

Wilson said the defibrillator was used but that the machine indicated Desir's heartbeat was too weak to activate the unit.

An automated external defibrillator delivers an electric shock to try to restore a normal heart rhythm if a a particular type of irregular heart beat is detected. The machines cannot help in all cases.


Wilson said three flight attendants helped Desir, but "stepped back" after doctors and nurses on the flight began to help her.

"Our crew acted very admirably. They did what they were trained to do, and the equipment was working," he said.

Desir was pronounced dead by one of the doctors, Joel Shulkin, and the flight continued to John F. Kennedy International Airport, without stopping in Miami. The woman's body was moved to the floor of the first-class section and covered with a blanket, Oliver said.

Desir died of complications from heart disease and diabetes, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office.

Shulkin, through his attorney, Justin Nadeau, declined to comment on the incident.

FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette said the agency was closely following the details of the incident.
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Old 02-25-08, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Banjo

Wilson said the defibrillator was used but that the machine indicated Desir's heartbeat was too weak to activate the unit.

An automated external defibrillator delivers an electric shock to try to restore a normal heart rhythm if a a particular type of irregular heart beat is detected. The machines cannot help in all cases.

.
Those AEDs are totally automated-- you stick the pads on the person, and the machine decides if a shock is needed, then does so if it's indicated. To a lay person, it might look like the machine is "not working" if medical professionals hook it up, and don't see anything happening.

If I hooked up an AED to my chest now, it would look like it wasn't working, since no shock would be administered (it would detect that my heart is functioning normally, and therefore I wouldn't need it).
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Old 02-25-08, 06:27 PM
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If there's a lawsuit, it might be based on this policy:
Flight attendants are trained not to automatically give oxygen to every passenger who requests it but instead use airline criteria to judge when it's needed, said Leslie Mayo, a spokeswoman for the union representing American's attendants.
I don't know what really happened, but someone with diabetes and heart disease getting on a plane sounds risky if you add in the possibility of claustrophobia.
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Old 02-25-08, 07:23 PM
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I dont know why they should sue the company. I mean its not like they caused her to have the heart attack. She just happened to be on the plane when it happened. This may sound a little callus but is there any law making the airline responsible for every passenger on board?
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Old 02-25-08, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dashed
I dont know why they should sue the company. I mean its not like they caused her to have the heart attack. She just happened to be on the plane when it happened. This may sound a little callus but is there any law making the airline responsible for every passenger on board?

I think it depends on if faulty equipment/refusal of service killed her or not.. I'm sure the FAA mandates certain health equipment on board, and a person can expect to have access to that equipment. If she died because the equipment is broken, a lawsuit seems legit. If the equipment wouldn't have helped, I don't see how the airline would be at fault.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:28 PM
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"Her last words were, 'I cannot breathe,'" he said.
This sentence bugs me the hell out of me. A person gasping for air is going to say, "I can't breathe."
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Old 02-25-08, 11:43 PM
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A person who cannot breathe isn't going to say anything.
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Old 02-26-08, 12:05 AM
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Old 02-26-08, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
A person who cannot breathe isn't going to say anything.
Maybe she mimed it.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
If there's a lawsuit, it might be based on this policy:

I don't know what really happened, but someone with diabetes and heart disease getting on a plane sounds risky if you add in the possibility of claustrophobia.
in today's paper they said except for diabetes and hypertension she was otherwise healthy
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Old 02-26-08, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by MartinBlank
I've traveled the banks of the river of Jordan
To find where it flows to the sea
I looked in the eyes of the cold and the hungry
And I saw that I was looking at meeeeeee.
And I wanted to know if life had a purpose
And what it all means in the end
In the silence I listened to voices inside me
And they told me again and again.
There is only one river
There is only one sea
And it flows through you
And it flows through me
There is only one people
We are one in the same
We are all one spirit
One naaaaaaaaaaaammmme.
We are the father
We are one.
We are one.
We are one.
Well played, sir.

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Old 02-26-08, 08:38 AM
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Of course the corporation is going to make this their stance. Giant corporations with an ocean of well-paid, highly educated lawyers never produce a statement admitting guilt. Chances are that they'll be sued and settle for a pretty large sum of money.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:39 AM
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Sounds like it was just time for this lady to go.. and her flying just made that time come a little faster. I don't think the airline will be at fault at all. I think the family will attempt to make some cash from the situation since that is the state of the world we live in - but at the end of the day I don't think they will get anywhere. Then again.. get a bleeding heart (pun intended) jury and all the evidence really doesn't matter..

Of course the folks who will really know were the doctors that tried to save her.
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Old 02-26-08, 09:20 AM
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Yea, they will probably settle since it's cheaper, but I'm thinking that the airline did what it could and that the man was upset and just saw things differently.

According to the article it sounds like the attendant saying "we don't usually need oxygen for diabetes, but I'll go check" is him saying they "refused"

As mentioned above, it sounds like he expected the defibrillator to shock her, but it didn't because it wasn't the proper condition to do so and therefore he thought it was broken.

As for her saying she couldn't breathe, I'm thinking her heart started to go, she got short on breath and said "I can't breathe" and then he asked for the oxygen..and tried to treat the symptom and didn't realize it was something more (although I'm sure the oxygen couldn't have hurt).

I think that if the airline didn't do what they were supposed to or have the right functioning equipment that you would have at least some of the doctors and nurses on board all over the news saying they could have saved her if not for the airline...and we haven't heard a peep out of them.
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Old 02-26-08, 09:55 AM
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I think the cousin expected audible, slowly going-up-in-pitch "getting ready to shock" sound effects followed by violent fish--out-of-water flopping around from the woman. Because he didn't get his "Emergency!" style experience, he assumed the thing was broken.

There were several doctors on the flight (at least one of whom administered treatment), the woman obviously had severe health problems and oxygen was made available (even though it seems to be a strange treatment for diabetes). Long story short, I'm going with American Airlines on this one. Sounds like a case of worst possible timing that someone is trying to make some cash out of.
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Old 02-26-08, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
in today's paper they said except for diabetes and hypertension she was otherwise healthy
It would seem that they were incorrect with that assessment.
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Old 02-26-08, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
I think the cousin expected audible, slowly going-up-in-pitch "getting ready to shock" sound effects followed by violent fish--out-of-water flopping around from the woman. Because he didn't get his "Emergency!" style experience, he assumed the thing was broken.
Exactly. That is why, on every aircraft, they should have at least one piece of emergency equipment that goes "ping!".
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