Mother Sues American Airlines After Son's Death, Faulty Defibrillator Alleged

 May 19, 2024

A tragic incident aboard an American Airlines flight has led to a lawsuit, invoking serious concerns about in-flight medical emergency responses.

In 2022, during a flight from Honduras to Miami, 14-year-old Kevin Greenidge suffered a fatal heart attack, prompting his mother, Melissa Arzu, to sue the airline over an allegedly faulty defibrillator and poor crew response, New York Post reported.

Melissa Arzu, a Bronx resident, is thrust into an unwanted spotlight after her son's sudden death. Arzu claims that the automated external defibrillator (AED), mandated on flights since 2004, failed during the critical moments when her son needed it.

Claims of Crew Negligence and Faulty Equipment

Eyewitnesses from the flight observed that the device appeared non-functional, and reports indicate it went missing afterward, raising questions about its management and maintenance. Arzu's attorney, Hannah Crowe, stated, "After Kevin died, the equipment went missing." This disappearance suggests potential gaps in the airline's safety protocols.

Following his medical emergency, the American Airlines flight diverted to Cancun, Mexico, where officials officially declared Kevin deceased. Besides coping with her profound loss, Arzu now faces a legal battle with the airline, which was moved to Texas, where American Airlines is headquartered, after the airline intervened legally.

A Painful Legal Battle Across States

Attorney Hannah Crowe explains that the trial venue's shift from New York to Texas adds to Arzu's hardships, exacerbating the emotional toll on Kevin's family.

After addressing venue concerns, attorney Hannah Crowe expressed dismay over American Airlines' handling of the situation. She criticized the lack of direct communication with the grieving mother, highlighting the emotional void left by the corporate giant's formal disengagement.

Following Kevin's death, Arzu received no communication from American Airlines, leaving her feeling hopeless and seeking answers and accountability from the airline to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Despite facing accusations and the lawsuit, American Airlines has kept public statements minimal, offering condolences through a spokesperson. This non-engaging stance contrasts sharply with the public outcry and the mother's quest for accountability.

Insufficient Training and Slow Response Alleged

The lawsuit not only criticizes the AED's condition and disappearance but also highlights concerns over the crew's handling of medical emergencies, claiming the staff needed adequate training and a prompt response aboard Flight 614.

Stringent regulations are supposed to safeguard the medical landscape on flights, including mandatory access to functioning life-saving equipment like AEDs. Allegations of negligence paint a concerning picture of passenger safety and emergency preparedness in commercial aviation.

Furthermore, Arzu alleges the airline failed to provide an expected advance payment following an onboard death, adding financial insult to unbearable emotional injury.

As the case progresses, it seeks personal restitution for a grieving family and urges systemic changes in airline safety and accountability practices. Kevin's pre-existing health conditions, asthma, and type 2 diabetes, underscore the necessity for proficient medical response capabilities in the air.

This tragic incident and ensuing legal battle highlight the complexities and critical nature of in-flight medical safety, airline corporations' accountability, and the profound impacts on passengers and their families. As proceedings continue, the public and safety advocates eagerly await answers and potential changes in airline policies.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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