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Thursday 26 April 2018

American Airlines sued over death of nurse who had embolism on flight after pilot refused to divert plane

A nurse died on an American Airlines flight after suffering an embolism and passing out in the bathroom while the pilot refused to divert the plane despite an onboard doctor's pleas to land.

Brittany Oswell was on the plane with her military husband Cory and were on their way home to South Carolina on April 15, 2016. They had been married for less than a year and they boarded a flight in Hawaii, where Cory was stationed in the military, at 8pm. Three hours into the flight, Brittany became "disoriented and dizzy".

Flight attendants watched her as she slurred her speech then fainted, according to a lawsuit filed by her family last week. She quickly regained consciousness but, around an hour or two later, she went to the bathroom and passed out after vomiting and defecating on herself. After passing out several times on the plane, her pulse stopped while flight attendants and a doctor gave her CPR in the plane galley after pleading with the captain to make an emergency landing.

The pilot consulted with an on-call American Airlines doctor on the ground then decided to carry on flying to Texas which would take another 90 minutes. Despite several pleas, they refused to land the plane and continued the journey. When the plane finally landed in Dallas, four hours after she first passed out, she was unconscious. She was taken to hospital but was declared brain dead three days later with the cause of death given as cardiac arrest prompted by a pulmonary embolism.

Brittany's husband and parents are now suing the airline, claiming they could have prevented her death by getting her the help she needed sooner. The lawsuit claims that the flight captain was asleep during the first portion of the ordeal and had to be "wakened" before they spoke to the doctor.

After Brittany's pulse stopped and she stopped breathing, the doctor tried to perform CPR and use a defibrillator to revive her but claims no shock came out of the pads as it should, the lawsuit claims.

Her parents Tina and Christopher filed the lawsuit against American Airlines in South Carolina on the second anniversary of her death, along with her widower Cory. They say it is entirely American Airlines' fault that she died and that she could have been saved if the plane was grounded and the proper help was sought immediately.

Lawyer Brad Cranshaw told that her fate was sealed by the airline's staff's actions.

"When Brittany got on the plane, she stepped into her coffin. It's a tragedy," he said.

American Airlines said it was examining the complaint but would not yet respond to the allegations.

"We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we are looking into the details of the complaint," a spokesman told

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