Mother files lawsuit against American Airlines after son’s death on flight

NY mother sues American Airlines over son's death after the defibrillator was not charged; NTSB investigates near-collision incident at Florida airport.

A New York mother is accusing American Airlines of negligence after her son, Kevin Greenidge, died following a cardiac arrest during a flight from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to Miami on June 4, 2022. The lawsuit, filed by Melissa Arzu, claims that the automatic external defibrillator (AED) on board the plane was not charged and that American Airlines had failed to maintain it. The suit also alleges that the airline had neglected to train its staff in basic resuscitation techniques and had permitted the AED’s mobile battery pack to run down.

The lawsuit, which seeks damages and payment of attorney fees, references the Aviation Medical Assistance Act of 1998. The law requires airlines to carry defibrillators on board each aircraft with flight attendants, and the devices must be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in good working condition.

The filing of the lawsuit follows a separate incident involving American Airlines. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating a near-miss that occurred at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport on February 16. According to the NTSB, an Air Canada Rouge A-321 was cleared for takeoff on Runway 14 at the same time that an American Airlines B-737 was cleared to land on the same runway. The American Airlines crew initiated a go-around, and there were no injuries or damage reported.

The tragic death of Kevin Greenidge is a reminder of the importance of having functioning medical equipment on board commercial flights. The Aviation Medical Assistance Act of 1998 was implemented to ensure that airlines are equipped to handle medical emergencies, and it is essential that airlines adhere to its regulations. In addition to carrying functional medical equipment, airlines must ensure that their staff are trained to use it properly in the event of an emergency. Failure to do so could have serious consequences for passengers, as well as legal ramifications for the airline.