A mother is suing American Airlines after claiming the carrier’s failure to have a functioning defibrillator onboard a flight led to her teenage son’s death.
Melissa Arzu claims in a lawsuit filed earlier this month that her 14-year-old son Kevin Ismael Greenidge was onboard American Airlines flight AA614 from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to Miami when he had a medical emergency on 4 June 2022.
While he suffered a cardiac arrest, a doctor onboard tried to use a defibrillator on Kevin but the life-saving device was not charged. Ms Arzu’s attorney Thomas Giuffra told The Independent on Thursday that the flight made an emergency landing in Cancun, Mexico, where doctors tried to revive Kevin but he was declared dead shortly after.
The lawsuit claims that American’s “carelessness, recklessness and negligence” in failing to ensure that the defibrillator was properly charged ultimately led to Kevin’s death. Kevin’s mother also alleges in the lawsuit that the flight crew was not properly trained in basic resuscitation techniques for allowing the device to run flat.
“He lost his chance,” Mr Giuffra said. “It’s outrageous. It’s pretty easy to check those things.”
The lawsuit also states that Kevin suffered a severe shock to his nervous system, from which he could not recover after not receiving proper treatment in the immediate aftermath of his cardiac arrest.
Ms Arzu is suing American for damages, and hospital and attorney fees.
The Federal Aviation Authority requires airlines to carry functioning defibrillators aboard in every flight. They must also be checked regularly to ensure that they are working correctly. AED US estimates that there is a 70 per cent survival chance when a person suffering cardiac arrest is defibrillated within three minutes of the episode.
In 1997, American Airlines became the first carrier in the US to keep defibrillators onboard. Nearly eight months later, the first person was saved using the device, according to archives from The Chicago Tribune.
From 2018 to 2021, 57 passengers were saved after being defibrillated onboard American Airlines flights. Previous data by the company suggested 76 lives were saved between 1997 and 2007.
The Independent has reached out to American for comment.