Woman Dies On AA Flight After Being Refused Help, Then Given Empty Oxygen Tanks

A 44-year-old Brooklyn woman was returning from vacation in Haiti when she began to have trouble breathing. According to her cousin who was on the flight with her, she was refused help twice by the flight attendant, then she was brought two oxygen tanks with masks—but both were empty. Her cousin requested an emergency landing, but before they could touch down in Miami she was dead, so the plane continued to JFK. The airline isn’t commenting on why the emergency tanks were empty in the first place. “After the flight attendant refused to administer oxygen to Ms. Desir, she became distressed, pleading, ‘Don’t let me die,’ Mr. Oliver recalled.”

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.

Mr. Oliver said two doctors and two nurses who were aboard tried to administer oxygen from a second tank, which was also empty.

Sonja Whitemon, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, would not comment on Mr. Oliver’s claims of faulty medical equipment aboard the plane.

Ms. Desir was placed on the floor and a nurse tried to resuscitate her, but to no avail, Mr. Oliver said. “I cannot believe what is happening on the plane,” he said, sobbing. “She cannot get up, and nothing on the plane works.”

Thus continues American Airlines’ zero-tolerance rule to illness and health emergencies, and their devotion to creating unsafe environments for employees and passengers.

(Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)

“Woman, 44, Dies on Plane With 2 Empty Oxygen Tanks “ [New York Times]

(Airplane photo: Adrian Pingstone)

UPDATE: American Airlines disputes this story.

Comments

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  1. hugowren says:

    Wow… really bad reporting by Consumerist. The flight was never diverted to Miami, which is one of the complaints. Instead the flight went directly to JFK. Also, it wasn’t her friend who was with her, it was her cousin.

  2. mikeluisortega says:

    It was obviously her own fault for not bringing here own oxygen tank ;) It’s sad but on a plane what can you really do?

  3. rohde88 says:

    how do they continue to fly from MIA-JFK, that’s three more hours with a dead woman on the floor!

  4. theblackdog says:

    That’s just tragic.

  5. cde says:

    :/

    Dude, rtfa.

    Ms. Desir was pronounced dead by one of the doctors, Joel Shulkin, and the flight continued on to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Her body was moved to the floor of the first-class section and covered with a blanket, Mr. Oliver said.

    The plane never landed in Florida. They just kept on trucking to JFK.

  6. Steve Trachsel, Ace says:

    I would love to hear comments from the Doctors or Nurses rather then the friend, but there is no excuse to a plane to take off without minimal emergency equipment checked and functional. I understand the attendant not administering more then the most basic first aid, since they really arent trained to do so and it opens up huge liability, but still, oxygen should always be available on airlines, if just for panic attacks.

  7. 92BuickLeSabre says:

    @mikeluisortega: You can have working emergency medical supplies. Or you can make an emergency landing (which does happen in medical emergencies.) That’s what you can do.

  8. CaliforniaCajun says:

    Of course, there’s no mention by the Consumerist about the woman’s already poor health.

    Airlines aren’t under any obligation to have medical oxygen on board or to have trained medical personnel on board.

    -The flight never went to Miami at all. She died 45 minutes out, so the jet continued to JFK.

    How about you guys stop running (literally) with half-assed stories like this one and the “Apple Firebook” guy and actually help some people get relief from companies that seem intent on screwing them? I found this site far more helpful when it was…you know, helpful.

  9. Chris Walters says:

    In the original version of this post I said her cousin was her friend, and that the plane landed in Miami, which it didn’t. I’ve corrected the post, but this is just to clarify for future readers who are confused about the above comments.

  10. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    They put her on the floor in first class? Well, there’s a novel way to get an upgrade. Kinda permanent, though.

    Meanwhile, “view of deceased passenger from coach” probably wasn’t one of the perks those folks up front were expecting.

  11. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Even if the woman had poor health, functioning first aid equipment is something that (one would think) needs to be available and functional, especially since when one is on an airplane, the ability to get EMT/paramedics quickly is impossible.

    Yes, people die on airplanes of heart attacks and other illnesses, but if this womans death could have been averted by AA having functioning equipment…AA’s fault…

    The airline industry is absolultely awful…

  12. SexierThanJesus says:

    Alright guys, let’s hear it….how was this her own fault? Don’t let me down.

  13. Falconfire says:

    accourding to some reports the on-board defibrillator also malfunctioned.

  14. PinkBox says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: Regardless of her poor health, there is no reason that TWO of the oxygen tanks should have been inoperable. That’s scary!

  15. Chris Walters says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: Her heart condition may have contributed to the attack–her death was listed as being from “natural causes”–but it has no bearing on the two Consumerist-related issues at hand:

    1. being allegedly refused help twice from the FA

    2. the claim that two oxygen tanks—which are onboard for emergencies—were empty

  16. cde says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: That’s not the issue. The issue is that one, they had the tanks (so the whole, they arn’t required part is moot) yet denied her the use twice, and two, the tanks were empty, which when they have already brought them out and to the attention of the passengers, is really fucked up.

    But what I don’t get is why they didn’t break out the emergency air masks…

  17. stageright says:

    The way Flight Attendants act these days, her friends are all just lucky they weren’t reported for helping cause an incident on the flight and arrested at the terminal.

    Flight Attendants have been using 9/11 to get away with not doing their jobs for years now, preferring instead to threaten to report people. Why weren’t the O2 tanks full? It’s probably the job of the flight attendants to check them.

  18. burnte says:

    When I was a young boy, my mother and I were flying back from New Jersey to Pittsburgh after a visit to friends. Her asthma had been acting up, and she had a severe attack mid flight. The O2 tanks they had on board for emergencies were empty as well, and this was 20 years ago. It wasn’t AA, it was another airline, but thank god the pilot was close to Allentown, and took the plane in for a near vertical landing. It doesn’t surprise me it still happens…

  19. mercnet says:

    It’s amazing how she would have been better off yelling I have a bomb on the plane or hitting the flight attendant to get an emergency landing. This country makes me sick.

  20. ConRoo says:

    Just wondering … if the tanks were operational and the flight attendants helped her would she have died anyway?

  21. cde says:

    [www.guardian.co.uk]

    //Desir was put on the floor, and a nurse tried CPR, to no avail, Oliver said. A “box”, possibly a defibrillator, also was applied but didn’t function effectively, he said.//

    defibrillator broke too, or “effectively”. Granted, in this case, where her lungs seem to be what gave out, a defib would do 0 good, so it might not have been broke.

  22. cde says:

    @ConRoo: Maybe. Probably, but then the story would be “Woman dies on airplane of natural causes” not “AA is useless and cost her her life.”

  23. Verklemptomaniac says:

    @SexierThanJesus: I’ll give it a shot…

    1) If she knew she was in poor health, then she should have been traveling with a full medical team, complete with sterile surgical equipment, a portable MRI machine, and an Iron Lung. At the very least, she should have brought her own oxygen! PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

    2) If she didn’t know she was sick, then she obviously deserved to die. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

    3) Did she check the box when she was ordering the ticket to inform the airline that she was planning to stop breathing on her return flight? If not, they shouldn’t be liable! PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

    4) How do we know they oxygen tanks were really empty? Maybe they were full, but she’s really an alien who requires helium gas. If so, she should have alerted the airline to her special needs. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

    And so on and so forth. Man, AA is about to get it’s tuchas sued off…

  24. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    @cde: A very valid question. Isn’t there some way to activate the emergency oxygen system? Sure, it might be a tad annoying for everyone on the plane to have the silly mask drop in front of them, but I’m thinking people would rather save a life than complain.

    @mercnet: Morbid. And, unfortunately, true.

  25. cde says:

    @Verklemptomaniac: Actually, mikeluisortega beat you to it.

  26. Verklemptomaniac says:

    @cde: Curses, foiled again.

    At least I was the first to propose the helium-breathing-alien theory.

  27. Geekybiker says:

    Yah, there is going to be a big lawsuit here I imagine. Even if they arent required to keep oxygen tank on board, they had them and behaved in a pretty negligent manner which lead to her death.

  28. legotech says:

    When I was an EMT we’d have guys hitting the O2 to help them over a particularly bad hangover (no idea why it helped, but they seemed to think it did) and I knew welders who’d do the same thing…wonder if the FAs were doing the same thing.

  29. ARP says:

    @Cogito Ergo Bibo: As others have commented, the best way to get help is to refuse to comply with crewmember instructions, no matter how foolish or illogical, then you’re a “threat” and they will land.

    Possibly- she could have gone for a door, but you risk an Air Martial putting two slugs in your back.

  30. ConRoo says:

    If I was traveling by train, and I was experiencing some difficulty with my health. I wouldn’t expect the personnel to have the necessary equipment to save my life. Surely, they would not be to blame for my demise.

  31. SexierThanJesus says:

    @Verklemptomaniac: I think you just made my day.

  32. econobiker says:

    @mercnet: Yeah, my thinking also that they manage to emergency land planes for violence or threats of same yet cannot land a plane for a medical emergency…

    legotech- either people were taking oxygen bar hits or it was cost cutting by the airline…

  33. Amy Alkon says:

    If you have a medical condition, you are required to bring your own oxygen, which is expensive. The oxygen on board is supposed to be for unexpected emergencies, which isn’t to say it was right that they were empty or that the woman was denied use, if that was the case.

  34. The Porkchop Express says:

    @NameGoesHere: Thank you, the fact that they are on the plane means that they should work. Kind of like how fire extinguishers should always be functional. No point in having emergency stuff that doesn’t work.

    This should not have happened like this. If the oxygen tanks were full and functional, fine things happen. but this is terrible.

  35. DanglinModifiers says:

    “Her body was moved to the floor of the first-class section and covered with a blanket, Mr. Oliver said.”

    The cabin service on an AA flight is so bad, passengers are dying to get bumped to first class.

  36. cde says:

    @ARP: They will land… when they get a chance. Someone dying or someone with a bomb, the plan can’t travel faster then its meant to travel, and if your over water…. haiti to ny, so over water and nowhere to land in less then an hour other then 45minutes to Miami.

  37. Amy Alkon says:

    Sorry – I’m somewhat wrong: You have to pay the airline to supply it:

    [www.smartertravel.com]

  38. The Porkchop Express says:

    @mercnet: it’s not the country in this case, it’s some asshole pilot and a major mistake in saftey/equipment checks.

  39. cde says:

    @Amy Alkon: It was not expected for her to stop breathing because of lung issues. She had a heart Issue, so that would require a difib.

    @DanglinModifiers: You wouldn’t happen to work for Verizon Fios PR would you?

  40. quagmire0 says:

    And to add insult to death, they proceeded to raise their fare prices. :P

  41. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich: “but if this womans death could have been averted by AA having functioning equipment…AA’s fault…”

    Really? If AA had had emergency portable oxygen, or had provided that oxygen sooner, she could have lived? How do you know? You can say she might have had a chance…or that her chances would have been non-zero, but to say that she could have lived is probably best left to medical professionals.

    As far as the emergency oxygen generators, (which are connected to the silly yelow masks) which are activated when cabin pressure falls, there’s no switch in the cockpit to make these pop out. You have to decompress the airplane – which, I’m guessing, American wasn’t up for doing, given the dozens or hundreds of perfectly healthy people on the airplane who would have been put at risk. Similarly, the captain and co-pilot’s walk-around oxygen, which is independent of the cabin system, couldn’t be used because the cockpit door may not be opened in flight.*

    I understand the point (if not the sarcasm) of those who note that American should have a minimum, functioning set of emergency equipment on board, and I agree. The problem was that this woman was in very poor health – morbidly obese and with heart problems, traveling in a pressurized aluminum tube with no ready access to medical care.

    What happened here was horrible, and AA needs to be held accountable for the lack of training and preparedness – but it’s not their fault she died, and even with proper medical care, there’s no guarantee she’d have lived. That’s the problem I have with people who seem to take the stance that this is all American’s fault.

    *See what happens when you get a whole country so afraid of its own shadow that you can’t even respond to emergencies properly?

  42. Quellman says:

    @Falconfire: @cde:
    Defibs are only good with irregular heatbeat. They don’t start it again, contrary to every medical show on television and in movies.

    Sure her heart would be racing, but if you were in panic suffocating, yours would be fast also.

  43. cde says:

    @Amy Alkon: Also, supplemental oxygen is for people that need it constantly, not for first aid/emergency situations.

    @Lo-Pan: Misplaced anger much? What did the pilot do or not do that makes him an asshole?

  44. hubris says:

    While I get that the issue is why she was ignored by the FAs and there wasn’t any oxygen in the tanks, something tells me the O2 wouldn’t have done anything if 2 docs and 2 nurses couldn’t keep her alive. O2 isn’t some miracle cure for anything.

  45. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @ARP: “Possibly- she could have gone for a door”

    Interlocks will prevent any door opening in flight or while above a certain speed on the ground. The only way out after the main cabin door is closed and cross-check is completed – at which point the airplane is “sterile”. No reopening the door.

    Just so you don’t worry.

  46. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @econobiker: “manage to emergency land planes for violence or threats of same yet cannot land a plane for a medical emergency…”

    There was this little problem of the airplane not being equipped to land on water. She died during the overwater portion of the flight. She was already dead and a couple of hundred people were all ready to go to New York – where this woman was going anyway. Why would you expect them to land in Miami after she died?

    Seriously folks, American didn’t not kill this woman, no matter how hard you want it to be. Yes, airline service is terrible. No, bad airline service didn’t murder anyone.

    Jeez.

  47. cde says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: Could is essentially “yes/no”, so you can say she could have lived. And given that medical professionals were trying to give her oxygen, it’s a safe bet she could have lived.

    About the o2 gens and the masks and switch (or lack thereof), I’m not saying your wrong, you might well be right, but not all planes are designed alike, some models/makes might have a switch to turn them on without a loss of pressure.

    Also, it’s not that AA is responsible for her death 100%, just look at it the other way. If they had the tanks, working, and did everything reasonable in their power to help (in this case, be attentive to the lady saying she can’t breathe, and having working tanks of o2 when they have the tanks), it would be, “despite best efforts, woman dies of natural causes”

  48. y2julio says:

    @SexierThanJesus: It already has begun. Check CaliforniaCajun’s comments.

  49. dualityshift says:

    Simply tragic.

    If airlines are not required to have this medical equipment on board, why was it there? All the defective equipment would just incite panic on-board.

    I seriously doubt any of the flight staff have had proper training to use a defibrillator, thus it’s a useless piece of equipment, or worse, a tool to quicken the lady’s demise.

    The fact they didn’t divert, dead woman in first class and all, just puts the passengers more ill-at-ease.

    Let’s see how AA spins this, shall we? Their new ad campaign; American Airlines: People are dying to be flying with us.

  50. Shadowman615 says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: You’re right, we don’t know if she *could* have lived or not if she had been given oxygen. But we do know that she had absolutely no chance without it, and that’s why AA is liable here.

    If someone jumps off the roof of a 20-story, and you shoot him and kill him while he’s in mid-air passing the 10th floor, you are guilty of murder. It’s completely irrelevant that he would have died anyway upon landing. I’m not saying AA is guilty of murder — it’s merely negligence — but the same principle applies here.

  51. On to the important issue. If I am a First Class passenger from Haiti to New York (is there such a thing?), I am writing a strongly worded letter to AA about putting a dead steerage passenger on the shag carpeted floor of our swank first class cabin. I mean, I pay First Class ticket prices or blow FF miles on First Class on a 5 hour flight, I did not do so to sit with a stiff. Or even have to walk over a stiff on the way to my gold plated airline toilet. No. This is unacceptable by all standards. I will accept nothing less than one billion frequent flier miles and lifetime diamond status.

  52. chrisdag says:

    @Falconfire: I’ve seen the same media reports about a “box” that people are assuming was a defibrillator that “failed to work”. We need to be careful here about the media reports of the box “not working” — the latest generation of semi or fully-automatic defibrillators are smart enough that you literally only need to apply the leads to the person’s chest and then press the big “go” button. The system automatically monitors the heart activity and only delivers a shock if the heart readings and electrical activity are within “shockable” parameters.

    It’s been years since I was trained up on those things but even back then the semi-automatic units were awesome. The box verbally announces what it is doing and what it is about to do “… preparing to shock, please stand back!” and that sort of thing.

    There is a *huge* difference between saying “the defibrillator did not work” and “the defibrillator did not fire” — so far there does not seem to be a real answer for this bit.

    The empty oxygen tanks are pretty damning. The defib thing is less so.

    My $.02!

  53. The Porkchop Express says:

    @cde: No emergency landing and I’m sure he was involved in the idea of putting her on the ground in first class. This could be policy, but anyway I didn’t intend to sound so angry. damn

  54. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @cde: Could is a modal verb – the past tense of can. It indicates possibility. And I clearly noted the possibility that she may have lived if functioning emergency equipment had been present. But that still doesn’t make it American’s fault she died.

    Regarding emergency oxygen generators…without referring you to technical manuals and procedures, you don’t trigger an emergency system on an airplane – even if it’s possible – when there is no emergency. Operating outside of normal procedures could put everybody on the airplane in jeopardy. Oxygen generator starts a fire in the jet over water and everyone dies because some woman had trouble breathing? Bad.

    I agree with your last point – it’s a bad public relations stain for American Airlines, because even the meager emergency equipment aboard didn’t function and the FA apparently didn’t respond immediately to this woman’s request for help.. If everything had been working and she’d been attended to, she may have died anyway. But, here’s an idea: if you’re morbidly obese and know you have a heart condition, avoid flying. Airliners aren’t hospitals and there may be no help when you need it.

  55. mikeluisortega says:

    CaliforniaCajun wins! game set match.

  56. snoop-blog says:

    i just couldn’t imagine, being that woman, thinking, finally here they come with some oxygen, then finding out it was empty. what a way to go. toying with your emotions right before you die.

  57. snoop-blog says:

    btw, is it too soon to make a morbid joke yet? i just find it odd they would stick her in first class. i would have thought the overhead storage compartment would be more of a out of sight out of mind solution.

    ok i’m going to hell now. i’m sure i will see some of you there.

  58. missbheave (is not convinced) says:

    @mikeluisortega: I’m more concerned that she was denied assistance. twice. This is what flight attendants are really there for.

  59. IphtashuFitz says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: As far as the emergency oxygen generators, (which are connected to the silly yelow masks) which are activated when cabin pressure falls, there’s no switch in the cockpit to make these pop out. You have to decompress the airplane

    Not true at all. The oxygen generators are small cylinders that have a pin in them, kind of like a hand grenade. This is exactly why the flight attendants tell you to yank down on the mask if it drops. The mask is attached to the pin, and the yanking motion pulls the pin out and starts the chemical reaction that generates the oxygen.

  60. Ayo says:

    @hugowren:

    whoopty doo! You could exclude that entire information and go on the fact that she was refused help twice.. and given an Empty Oxygen tank. Thats the gist of the story. Don’t knock the Consumerist and say it was “really bad reporting.”

  61. shortergirl06 says:

    It’s amazing how many times this is the truth, though, that the O2 tanks are empty or malfunctioning.

    A few years ago, I had a major asthma attack while running from one terminal to another in Miami. When I got to the plane, I was in bad shape, and my puffer didn’t help much.

    They brought me on the ramp to get some oxygen from the plane, and when the paramedics got there, one of the tanks was empty, and according to the sticker, hadn’t been even checked in a year. The other tank was half full, and had a leak in the tubing. The paramedics eventually had to get one from an ambulance to send with me on the flight. I believe the plane took it back to Miami on the next trip.

    I think, personally, that this should be regulated. Someone goes around to check the tanks are full, and maybe even check a basic first aid kit. The air’s thin anyways, and sometimes symptoms don’t show up until it does thin out.

  62. thesuperpet says:

    to anyone who said she should have brought her own oxygen… what on earth makes you think that Airport Security would let her bring that? Someone else could sneak in a lighter and they could blow up the plane!!!! OMG!!!

    And even if they usually let people bring medical equitpment, if she didnt need it all the time, then they could have asked her not to bring it, and if you’re an old lady, do you really want to put up a big fuss?

  63. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @Shadowman615: “But we do know that she had absolutely no chance without it [functioning walkaround oxygen], and that’s why AA is liable here.”

    Waitaminute.

    Don’t invert history by trying to claim that she might have lived, because no one knows that except the autopsy doctor – and even then, not for sure. Maybe she died of a blood clot in her aorta caused by dehydration and inactivity. Oxygen definitely wouldn’t have helped there, and her symptoms would have been the same.

    Point is, neither of us knows whether oxygen would have helped at all. Yes, American should have had functioning basic emergency equipment if they’re going to other to carry it at all, but there may have been no chance that any of that equipment, even administered by a professional, would have prolonged her life at all.

  64. forgottenpassword says:

    boy, those needy passengers sure are a pain in the ass arent they? How dare they have the audacity to want oxygen when they cant breathe! WHat do they think this is? a Hospital????!!!!

  65. monkeyboy13 says:

    I hate articles that are written this way. Nothing against the author, but so many consumerist articles have huge gaps in information, or info based on POV of interested parties. I’d rather hear the story from the doctors, not her family.

    1. Define refused help. In the NYT article it says she requested oxygen. The attendant may not have been aware that there were tanks onboard

    2. It sounds like after the second request, the attendant spoke to the cockpit and got direction from the pilot and probably requested the landing.

    3. A flight from haiti to JFK is over the ocean, where were they supposed to land? Sounds like they were going to divert to Miami, but once she was dead, why would they continue to do that? She was retuning from vacation, so she probably lived near JFK and her family was probably there. Putting down in Miami once she was dead makes no sense.

    4. Both tanks were ‘dead’. This is again from the cousin, not the doctor. He could be basing this on a doctors comments of “its not working” which could mean the tank is empty or is not helping her. Same with a difibulator not being effective (if there was one used)

    Unfortunately, if you are in midflight over the ocean and have a medical emergency, there is only so much that can be done. We don’t know if AA could have done anything differently to save her.

  66. CaliforniaCajun says:

    All about portable medical oxygen on commercial airline fli… originating or terminating in the United States.

  67. MrMold says:

    Once the heart failure hits cascade, you are dead but don’t know it. The article did not state the passenger was obese but if you have certain types of cardiac issues, you can die quite rapidly. Oxygen only helps if there is enough viable tissue.

  68. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @Cogito Ergo Bibo: You’re going to hell for that one (and I’m embarrassed to say I laughed).

    @missbehave: I totally agree.

  69. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Amy Alkon:

    If you have a medical condition, you are required to bring your own oxygen,

    This is exactly wrong. The majority of airlines will absolutely NOT let you bring your own oxygen equipment on board. Instead, you have to contact their medical department in advance so they can arrange to have oxygen on board for you.

    The few (I’ve only heard of one, actually) that do let you bring your own medical oxygen require a variety of paperwork and approvals in advance.

    None of this really matters in this case, though. there is no indication in any of the stories I’ve seen that this woman had any kind of chronic condition that required oxygen. She needed oxygen because of something unexpected that happened to her while she was on the plane.

    Of course, right now the only descriptions we have of what happened are from an upset relative who described the portable defibrillator as “a box.” I wouldn’t put to much faith in his description of events being very accurate.

  70. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @TinyBug: I’m sorry, but you are wrong as well.

    Portable oxygen concentrators are allowed on all domestic flights and international flights originating in or terminating in the United States. The airline’s only say in the matter is to determine whether the unit is one of the models approved for flight by the FAA, and whether the unit interferes with the aircraft’s systems.

    See this article for more info.

  71. Amy Alkon says:

    @thesuperpet:

    You order the oxygen from the airline. If you have a pre-existing health problem, shouldn’t you be responsible for providing preventive measures, rather than laying the cost on the airline? And ultimately, on other passengers? Oxygen isn’t free. It’s rather expensive, at least in tank form.

  72. macinjosh says:

    I wonder if they hit the attendant call button and were told those are only for requesting water. (linger longer)

  73. itsallme says:

    @PotKettleBlack: Declined. Reason, Act of God.

    But, we would have been more than happy to arrange a seat change to somewhere further away from the corpse (for a small fee) had you asked an attendant while in flight.

  74. madrigal says:

    [www.msnbc.msn.com]

    There’s the airlines’ version. They say the oxygen tanks were working, that a doctor on board tried to help, and the defibrillator was working too.

  75. scoosdad says:

    I think we all ought to sit back and wait as the story becomes clearer. Already the Associated Press at 1PM is reporting conflicting information from the original story:

    [www.boston.com]

    The revised story mentions the possibility that the defibrillator would not activate because her heart was already too far gone to make it work; see @chrisdag‘s post above.

    Also it appears from this latest report that the people travelling with this woman may have confused the issue for the flight attendant by saying, “she has diabetes, she needs oxygen”. When we diabetics have medical issues on board airplanes, it usually requires immediate treatment for low blood sugar with juice or a sugary soft drink, and not a hit from an oxygen tank. I think the flight attendant may have been questioning whether oxygen was the first thing this woman needed if she was indeed having some kind of diabetic-related issue, as it was reported to her by this woman’s traveling companions, or should her response be something else.

    If the flight attendant had given this woman oxygen while the underlying issue was actually low blood sugar, oxygen wouldn’t have helped at all, and they might still have had a dead passenger.

  76. dreamsneverend says:

    It’s sad someone died, but when will the blame and the persistent calls for hand holding end? Someone who is in ill health shouldn’t be traveling without the proper medical devices/assistance with them.

  77. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: Thanks for the correction – apparently my experience is a few years out of date. I wasn’t aware of the change in rules in 2006. So let me revise my statements.

    Airlines will absolutely NOT let you bring your own oxygen tanks on board unless they are empty. Instead, you have to contact their medical department in advance so they can arrange to have oxygen on board for you.

    They will let you bring an oxygen concentrator, but this requires a variety of paperwork and approvals in advance, and is limited to a very specific list of approved devices.

  78. macinjosh says:

    @y2julio: Or they’re “flying to die with us.”

  79. zerj says:

    @Verklemptomaniac:

    Are you allowed to bring your own oxygen onto an airplane? That seems like something that would be prohibited even if you did think you may need it.

  80. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Amy Alkon: If you have a pre-existing health problem, shouldn’t you be responsible for providing preventive measures, rather than laying the cost on the airline?

    Yes, you should. That’s why the airlines charge an extra fee to customers who request onboard oxygen. Or you can bring your own oxygen concentrator (not tank), as long as you follow the rather restrictive guidelines.

  81. pine22 says:

    i think this is just tragic, really its nobodys fault. AA tried and failed to help and the woman seemed to have pre-existing health issues. until more details about her health are released, its hard to tell if the oxygen or defib would have helped or not. once a plane lifts off, there is just extremely limited options if someone is in need of emergency medical care.

  82. Greeper says:

    If there is a law requiring oxygen on board, which there apparently isn’t, they should be in trouble. They should not be in trouble for failing to land early. Airlines are paid to move people from A to B, not to take care of sick people. Bad things happen. Not AA’s fault.

  83. cosby says:

    It is interesting to hear the other side of the story. Really sheds some light on it. Could the airline have acted faster? Maybe. Is it the airlines fault she died? No.

  84. matto says:

    Not mentioned in the article was that the oxygen in the tanks had been replaced with share certificates from M & M Enterprises. What’s good for M & M is good for the AA passengers!

  85. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Snoop-Blog: They couldn’t put her in the overhead — she didn’t fit wheels-first.

    (hey — comedy is just tragedy plus time).

  86. joebloe says:

    Don’t worry..John Edward will come to the rescue by suing the airline into bankrupcy.

  87. timsgm1418 says:

    perfect post, I was actually laughing out loud@Verklemptomaniac:

  88. Chese says:

    FWIW, oxygen wont save you if you have a heart attack. You might be saved by the defib unit or CPR. I am doubting the O2 cylinders were empty as well. Perhaps because they didn’t help the cousin determined they were empty. I am not sure where an oxygen tank is part of first aid anyways. I would call it a very unfortunate incident.

  89. B says:

    @Verklemptomaniac: She tried to bring oxygen, but she couldn’t find tanks that were 3 oz or less.

  90. savager says:

    who the fuck are all you people defending AA, and ripping apart the woman that died saying it’s her fault.. what the hell do you know that everyone else doesn’t.. If I was dying on a plane, yeah,.. I’d want it to land.. and the tanks should have had oxygen.. you’re all a bunch of assholes as far as I’m concerned. They should have done something.

  91. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    People die on planes all the time.

    Like a co-pilot in this story, which my hometown newspaper saw fit to publish a photo of.

    (unless that’s a wicked hangover he’s sleeping off)

  92. bluebuilder says:

    There are some contentions in this story. Several parties involved have different accounts of events, nothing has been decided yet. This woman’s family claims one thing, the doctors claim another, and the airline claims a third point of view.

    The headline for this post is sensational considering that none of the facts are clear.

  93. Steve Trachsel, Ace says:

    @savager: No one blamed the woman. Almost everyone said AA should have had better maintained equipment (which the follow up stories say they did). And if you RTFA it said the flight was from Haiti to NY, so where was it supposed to land? They were diverting to Miami until she was declared dead by a pair of doctors, so they continued on. Dont get to riled up and cuss people out

    Im hoping they moved the 1st class passengers back into coach though, that would have been horific

  94. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @savager: “you people defending AA, and ripping apart the woman that died saying it’s her fault”

    You know, I don’t think anyone in this thread has done anything like that.

    I might suggest a remedial course in reading comprehension, since you not only seem to have misread the comments, but the story as well. (plane was over water, etc.)

  95. Kanti_V2 says:

    @savager: They’re either delusional libertarians who troll here all the time because they hate how The Consumerist shows the need for government oversight of industries for the sake of consumer protection (even when it’s life or death kinds of protection), or they’re part of a corporate astroturf campaign who come here to do the same thing, only they get paid for it, instead of just doing it because they’re batshit insane.

    So it’s either pro-corporate sock puppetry, or it’s retards for whom big business, law enforcement, right wing governments, and the powers that be (aka: Daddy) are always right, and the victim is always wrong.

    I hope that answers your question.

  96. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    “i’m sorry ma’am, that button is for emergency use only.”

  97. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @Kanti_V2: Are you serious? Because I’m a liberal anti-corporate type who crusades for the little guy, but I really don’t get the trollish comments from you and savager at all.

    You know, my 88-year old grandmother has type II diabetes. She carries a bottle of water, a little bit of food, and her medicines in her purse wherever she goes – along with a description of her medical history in case she needs medical help. She flew 2500 miles to see relatives for Christmas (buying a replacement bottle of water in the terminal each way) and I’d expect that if she went into shock during the flight, the airline would do everything in its power to help her, but I don’t expect flight attendants to be doctors, and I don’t expect an airplane full of people to “land immediately” when it is 45 minutes away from the closest airport and the emergency has already passed.

    This story is ridiculous because it doesn’t help us, the consumers, to get better service. At this point, it’s a he-said/they-said issue, and if you’d taken the time or trouble to read American’s statement, it appears that the equipment was working fine – the woman was beyond help and the crew was given incorrect instructions by the person traveling with her – the same person who claimed that two oxygen tanks and a defibrillator were all out of commission. (Oxygen for diabetes?)

    Not every single thing a corporation does is evil and hostile to consumers on its face. Get over yourself.

  98. Mina_da_mad_child says:

    My reading comprehension is just fine and while there are a number of commenters that understand the family’s anguish, far too many are from the “don’t fly with medical conditions” camp.
    Granted, we are unsure as to whether oxygen would have saved this woman’s life. But the point is the airline did not have the basic necessities to handle an emergency. I sincerely hope that you are never is a similar situation and your callous comments come back to haunt you.
    Also, I’ve worked as a travel coordinator for a number of TV productions. And attempting to address a medical condition that requires oxygen is a major procedure that requires limitless patience.

  99. Jimbo64 says:

    If I paid all that money to fly first class, I would be pretty pissed off if they stuck a coach class corpse near my feet. How am I supposed to enjoy my steak tip salad under those circumstances?

    Couldn’t they stuff her down that hole in the galley floor that Wesley Snipes uses to sneak up on terrorists? It would make things a lot easier if she wound up on the baggage carousel anyway.

  100. poodlepoodle says:

    @joebloe:

    No he’ll sue the doctor who couldn’t save her.

    I’m actually surprised any doctor touched her.

  101. Redwraithvienna says:

    @CaliforniaCajun:

    The thing is : They had the emergency equipment on board, it didnt work. Thats the point. Everything else doesnt really matter.

    I am working at a museum, and we have to have emergency equipment on site in every floor of the museum, and this stuff has to be checked every 6 months. If it isnt and someone checks it and finds out it hasnt been checked in 6 months we can shut the place down until we get it replaced. (its a public building so the rules are rather strict about that).

    So why doesnt an airline manage to have a minimum of working emergency equipment on their planes.

    If she died anyways … ok thats life … bad luck not your day. It happens … people die in their beds, they die on trains, they die on the wheel of their car. They also die on planes. No biggie.

    But diying in a basically dangerouse enviroment (Aluminum Tube, 10 km above sea level, oxygen the same as on a 3000 high mountain) just cause the equipment that it meant to safe lives is not working is just wrong.

  102. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @Mina_da_mad_child: Apparently your reading comprehension is not all that good.

    Boston Herald Story. Oxygen was available and the defibrillator couldn’t find a pulse. Apparently, the woman’s traveling companion instructed the crew to give her oxygen when the woman went into diabetic shock – not even close to the right thing to do.

    The MSNBC story also cited in the comments above says the same thing. Point is that none of the folks complaining about “corporate shills” here bothered to read the conflicting and equally plausible story from the airline’s point of view.

  103. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @Redwraithvienna: “They had the emergency equipment on board, it didnt work. “

    Apparently, that wasn’t the case at all.

  104. CaliforniaCajun says:

    From the AP:

    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.

  105. otakutopia says:

    Hi, I am a former FA for one of the major US airlines and this story is rather shocking to me for several reasons. People dieing on airplanes is nothing new, but if a passenger is in distress and requests medical assistance it is against Federal Air Regulations (or FAR’s) to not render it.
    Secondly, every flight attendant is assigned preflight checks to make sure things like the oxygen tanks are full and ready to go. They are actually used quite often and should also get checked regularly by ground crews and each time a new crew boards a plane. So how could not only one, but two of them been empty is beyond my comprehension.

    In my short 1 year career with the airlines, I used oxygen about 10 times, CPR twice and a portable defibrillator once and no one ever died on one of my flights due to the quick reaction of the crew to the situation and no pilot ever turned down making an emergency landing for the sake of someones wellbeing.

  106. axiomatic says:

    This is just AA being lame.

    Continental did an emergency landing for me and I was just passing a (rather large 7mm) kidney stone, and it was even an international flight!

    Not only did Continental have proper oxygen and defibrillator (obviously unused in my case but I saw it in the cabinet) but they also had an emergency Demerol syringe which came in very handy for me.

    I feel truly sorry for this lady and her cousin. I wonder if AA had had proper emergency equipment that this woman would still be alive.

    Also, the asshole stewardess who denied the lady aide TWICE should be fired. I know the stewards think they are GODS lately, but they need to be chopped at the knees a little.

  107. DoctorMD says:

    The “emergency” oxygen tanks are for flight attendants in case of cabin depressurization so they can move around and help others get their masks on. They are not for passenger health “emergencies”.

    “federal law prevents the airlines from allowing passengers to bring their own oxygen canisters, and there is no mandate requiring airlines to provide supplemental oxygen aboard.”

    I also don’t think FAs are required to provide medical assistance.

    I am not sure the rules for diverting flights especially to other foreign airports but looks like AA can’t be held legally responsible.

  108. camille_javal says:

    Not pertaining to the facts of this particular story, but to more general comments that some of you are making re: people should bring their own equipment.

    My mother (a tiny woman, for the sick = must be fat = evil club) has pretty bad asthma. Most of the time, her inhaler works for her – however, every few years, usually in the middle of the night, she’ll have an attack so bad that she has to go to the ER, where they hook her up to oxygen. She has never left a hospital with oxygen.

    It’s not probable, but entirely possible that she could be on a plane and have one of these attacks. So, if a plane, where one has no other recourse (to the train dude – in areas where trains tend to operate more, a lot more stops, a lot less time trapped, a lot easier access even in-between stops), neglects to refill its oxygen tanks, a part of pretty basic first aid, then it’s her own damn fault?

  109. sncreducer says:

    I would say that if Consumerist wants to maintain any sort of credibility, this post needs an immediate update and a new headline.

    Two reputable news sources have reported directly conflicting information – the deceased’s relative’s claims on NYT on the one hand, and AA’s claims via AP on the other. No Consumerist editor/blogger, and certainly no commenter here, has any first-hand knowledge of this incident that can prove or disprove either version of the events here. More importantly, without a coroner’s ruling, no one can really say what cause this woman’s death.

    To leave this headline posted, without at minimum adding attribution (“Relative: Woman dies after…”), is irresponsible and misleading. To leave this post up without acknowledging the new information that’s come out today is the equivalent of journalistic malpractice.

    And everybody in the comments going absolutely apeshit based solely on one side’s version of the incident, without acknowledging that it may not be true, needs to STFU.

  110. rjhiggins says:

    @Redwraithvienna: Perhaps everyone commenting here should take a deep breath before laying all the blame on the airline. All you have heard is one side of the story from an understandably distraught family member. Subsequent stories have shed more light on the situation.

    I’m no corporate shill, but I have to lay some blame on Consumerist as well when it makes these semi-hysterical, one-sided posts.

  111. ohiomensch says:

    @PotKettleBlack: And you will probably get it too.

  112. dreamsneverend says:

    @B: chill out, the problem is no one is at fault in the end, someone died 35,000 feet up in the air. not much you can do about it when your time has come.

  113. JerseyJarhead says:

    The family of the deceased has been asked by American Airlines to pay the cost of her upgrade to first class.

    However, they agreed to discount the upgrade by $25 since she didn’t ask for any inflight beverage serve or food.

    What a great airline!!

  114. Kanti_V2 says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: Crap man, get over yourself. If you can’t spot a tongue-in-cheek comment, then you need to refrain from such long winded or self righteous rants.

    I wasn’t being completely serious, but merely mocking that element that does exist on these threads, those who have a knee jerk first reaction to blame the victim (if you don’t fall in to that category then bully for you). Nor was I singling anyone out, so lighten up.

  115. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    @Kanti_V2: The knee-jerk reaction, as you put it (i.e. skepticism of the relative’s account), looks to be correct.

    I join those asking Consumerist to update the post to include the whole story, and to try a little bit to avoid half-baked sensationalistic accounts in the future.

  116. poodlepoodle says:

    @camille_javal:

    If your mother is that ill she shouldn’t be traveling where help can not reach her. I have terrible allergies. Sometimes I go into anaphylactic shock, I do not leave home without epinephrine and Benadryl. If someone took those things away from me I would not get on a plane. End of story.

    But that’s beside the point. You don’t need to travel, you don’t. You might want to travel your work might like you to travel you might even get fired if you don’t travel but at the end of the day you’re the one who is going to die so really it’s up to you.

    Your airline isn’t EMS (there is a very expensive, very high tech area of aviation that fills this niche) short of very run of the mill events they are not prepared to take care of you. What would you have the airline do? Staff a doctor on every flight? A trained paramedic? Require they all have malpractice insurance? That would get pretty expensive pretty quick.

    One side is saying “our equipment worked and doctors responded to our requests for help.” The other side is saying O2 didn’t help her with diabetic shock (um, yea, it wouldn’t).

  117. JerseyJarhead says:

    Perhaps the fact that most US carriers treat their passengers like prisoners these days is the reason that most people are jumping to conclusions and blaming AA.

    The airlines can hardly expect anyone to give them the benefit of the doubt, or merely to be neutral and non-commital, when they are treated with rudeness and often, hostility.

    And as many have pointed out, the airlines will land on a dime to have a passenger arrested for being a “threat” but will sail on to NY with a corpse on the floor and think nothing of it.

    American, along with United and Continental, is an abysmal airline and this is just the chickens coming home to roost.

  118. PermanentStar says:

    @B:

    The 3oz rule would only apply to liquid oxygen…though I’m not sure of the TSA’s requirements on compressed gasses…

  119. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @DoctorMD: Wow – I had no idea. So then what if someone who requires oxygen or carries their own tank around with them needs to get from NY to LA…they’re SOL as far as flying goes?

    Not being snitty here – just simply curious! :)

  120. rustyni says:

    This is so sad. She was only a year older than my mother…..

  121. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @rustyni: “This is so sad. She was only a year older than my mother…..”

    That’s OK. She’ll keep getting older – she just won’t be around to enjoy it.

  122. hugowren says:

    @Ayo: Sorry Ayo, but how are we to trust posts when very basic facts are incorrect? This is purely sloppy work. If your going to do something, do it right, or don’t bother doing it at all. Had someone taken two minutes to proof read the post, they would have caught these mistakes.

  123. m4nea says:

    @hugowren: were you reading at all?

  124. cde says:

    @Shadowman615: Actually, can you back that up. If someone jumps from a building and you shoot him when it is 99.999999% sure he will die on impact on the ground, why is it murder? Did the bullet kill him or just wound him? Was he already dead from a heart attack when you hit him? Because one might be assault or illegal use of a weapon, and the other possibly desecration of private property, but not murder. That’s a far cry, and I highly doubt it has ever been seen in the inside of a court.

    @chrisdag:
    [www.guardian.co.uk]
    Box was not “effective”. Like I meantioned before, it could just not have been useful in her situation. Like smelling salts for a bullet wound (shock not withstanding)

    @Lo-Pan:
    Unfortunately, she was already dead. Since her final destination (no pun) was NYC, she probably had family there, and economically speaking for the family, having her corpse near family and where she would likely be buried is/was the right thing to do. I’m not sure of the costs of transporting a corpse from Miami to NYC as well as rebooking the guy’s flight, but if it could have been avoided…

    @monkeyboy13:
    The effectiveness of the o2 tanks is pointless. If she got o2 and it didn’t work, things would be okay from a “we tried” perspective. It’s the whole, we have them but they don’t work “your useless’ perspective. And what makes the empty o2 tanks different is in the words. Empty/did not work vs. Effective for the defib. Effective = it physically/mechanically was working as designed, medically, it did not help.

    @scoosdad: Read the updated article. The plane has 12 containers. FAA requires atleast 2. AA says all 12 were working. No update from impartial doctor.

    @poodlepoodle: Some doctors still believe in the Hippocratic Oath…

    @CaliforniaCajun: I would call that a bias source (AA PR employee). Until a statement by one of the doctors or nurses, It stays that it is undetermined.

  125. cde says:

    @axiomatic: Noone said they were rude or powertripping about it. Not even the family with the deceased.

    @DoctorMD: The AP has the FAA stating otherwise. Tanks can be used for other emergencies. And flight attendents have chimed in that they are required to help in that situation, atleast as in as far as they can.

    @sncreducer: Those two sources (Boston, and MSNBC) are both just mirroring the sam, newer AssociatedPress release. The NYT is the older AP release. The newer release has the same claims that the first had, but with AA PR response added. The newer release is just an update, not a whole new article.

    @poodlepoodle: Other side is that there was no o2 in the tanks. The defib worked but didn’t help.

    @CaliforniaCajun: That type of snark should be illegal for being so delicious.

  126. kbarrett says:

    Unbelievable.

    Complaining about no emergency O2 on board, when AA waived their right to charge her estate for Cadaver Shipping to JFK.

  127. banmojo says:

    Not gonna read through all this, but have my 2 cents: 1. this lady was clearly already a very very sick woman, on the verge of dying. 2. it was HER choice to make this trip in such poor health. 3. whether or not the tanks were full of O2, airlines are NOT even required to stock this item, so legally this IS a moot point from all angles. 4. there’s no guarantee O2 would have helped this lady – here’s my hypothesis: she formed a DVT during the flight TO Haiti, and in the return flight the DVT bust up, traveled north, and lodged in her lungs. a very very bad situation that even fully equipped ERs often aren’t able to reverse. 5. Airline attendants frequently deal with passengers who are panicky fliers, get agitated, complain of “not being able to breathe”, so the fact that it took several cries for help to get adequately recognized as a real problem isn’t that hard to understand, or forgive.

    Believe me, I HATE airlines as a rule, but I just don’t see this incident as being well researched, or ‘newsworthy’ at this point. Perhaps the autopsy will provide some better answers to what happened.

  128. ironchef says:

    she sounded like a medical train wreck.

  129. cde says:

    @banmojo: She was not a very very sick woman. If she looked that sickly, the airline would have denied boarding. Easier to write off upset customer then dead in mid-air.

    Two, they are required to carry o2, for both catastrophic emergencies and individual emergancies.

    Three, it doesn’t matter if it would or not helped. They had the tanks, they were apparently empty. Its barbaric. If you were dying of dehydration in the desert, ask me for some water, I say I have some, you get hope, then I say, nope, opps, ran out. Twice. That’s fucked up. Especially when they are required to have it and they did have it. Do it right or don’t do it.

  130. Redwraithvienna says:

    @CaliforniaCajun:

    In this case my 4th paragraph comes into play : Bad luck.

    Otherwise i stand with my post. If someones dies cause the equipment that should be working isnt working there is no excuse.

  131. Redwraithvienna says:

    @rjhiggins:

    I am not saying that (read paragrapoh 4 of my post).

    I am just saying that IF she could have been saved by means which should be available on an airplane emergency kit and wasnt due to faulty equipment THEN this is a huge problem.

    IF she just died cause she was an obese diabetic with a heart problem and nothing on this pkane could be done too safe her -> bad luck.

  132. dabofug says:

    So far, apparently the only part telling their story is the (Ka-CHING!) cousin, who was obviously upset, and perhaps did not understand what was happening.
    Doubtful the two O2 canisters tried were empty, but probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
    The “drop-down” masks only provide O2 for a few minutes via a chemical rxn, meant to allow the pilot to descend to a better level. They will NOT get you from Haiti to Miami.
    AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) are programmed to ONLY discharge if they sense ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia. They will NOT discharge for any other rhythm (AF, asystole, sinus tach, etc.)
    They will also not help any other condition, and could (except for those two rhythms) KILL YOU! That’s why they are made that way, and are out in the public.
    She likely had a whopping MI, dissection or pulmonary embolism. Even the Docs on board, without a lotta meds & monitors, could do nothing. And no, FAs are NOT responsible for being ACLS certified. Interesting the poster’s comment on Demerol being on board. May have to experience some wicked flank pain on my next trip.
    And as for the Docs & RNs on board, they’re better off not commenting. They did their best and stepped in. But anything they would be (or are misquoted as) saying now can and WILL be used against them later.

    Did she have the fish?

  133. hugowren says:

    @m4nea: Actually, were YOU reading? Maybe you should know what your talking about before you say something. When this story was originally posted, the Consumerist writer got a number of basic facts regarding the story completely wrong. The writer later went and corrected those errors after I brought them to light. Get a clue.

  134. ironchef says:

    @dabofug:

    FYI. The oxygen generators will only provide 6 minutes of oxygen.

  135. deweydecimated says:

    CNN.com has a lead story titled “Don’t feel great? Rethink flying, expert says.” The article alludes to this story.

    And, being good Consumerist readers, we can imagine the airlines’ reaction if we decide we are too ill to fly. Refund?! Rescheduling without a substantial penalty fee?

    So…. “Don’t feel great? Rethink flying, but then rethink the money you’re going to lose, and also think about how horrible the customer service is likely to be while you’re trying to get a refund or reschedule…. and think about how much aggravation it is to fly anyway, shouldn’t you just get it over with….” might be a more accurate story.

  136. radio1 says:

    Frankly, after reading the linked Boston Herald story, the situation seems a lot less outrageous.

    But several things do trouble me about this:

    1) How does a flight attendant truly decide if a person is in need of O2 or any medical attention? A set of criteria written by a corporate board of MDs and RNs is a start, but…
    2) Are the flight attendants (FAs) trained and CERTIFIED in First Aid procedures?
    3) How can a FA (and in turn American Airlines) deny assistance in the first place?

    Oh, and BTW community, heart disease is the number #1 killer of men and women in this country. The occurrence of diabetes in also increasing in this country due to the increase of obesity. Many posters already have alluded to her health issues, God forbid it, if you happen to have health issues while you are on a trip. Disgusting.

  137. trujunglist says:

    @mercnet:

    Best comment. It’s a good measure of the country, isn’t it?

    @snoop-blog:

    I think the best idea would’ve been for them to put her into the first class bathroom. At least she’d be out of the way and out of sight, even if first class (or steerage class, whichever) had to use the other bathroom.