Girl dies from cardiac arrest triggered by 'excitement' while on Michigan water slide, family sues park management
10-year-old London Eisenbeis suffered from a cardiac arrest as she was speeding down the Super Loop Speed Slide, which is the biggest slide at Zehnder's Splash Village in Frankenmuth, Michigan
The furious family of a 10-year-old girl who tragically died from an underlying heart condition as she was on her way down a 270-feet water slide is now going to sue the park. London Eisenbeis suffered from a cardiac arrest as she was speeding down the Super Loop Speed Slide, which is the biggest slide at Zehnder's Splash Village in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
WNYW reported that doctors later found that London had Long QT Syndrome, which is a heart rhythm disorder that can cause heartbeat palpitations, fainting, drowning, or sudden death. After undergoing nine days of support, the 10-year-old suffered another cardiac arrest and then died.
London's family, however, believe that she would have still been alive today if the employees of the park had gone through proper training to handle the emergency. The family has claimed that Zehnder's employees did not call paramedics fast enough after their daughter came down the slide in a state of cardiac arrest. They also said that none of the employees administered the Automatic External Defibrillator machine, which the girl's mother Tina Eisenbeis said would have saved her child's life.
A defibrillator is a machine that delivers a dose of electric current to the patient's heart and helps the organ re-establish a normal rhythm. Tina told NBC 25 News: "You have to respond, you don't have time to wait. I think people are afraid of defibrillators, but they're very easy to use. They're what is needed to bring back the rhythm."
Tina then revealed that London hadn't been given an AED for 24 minutes until paramedics arrived on the scene. She added: "If continuous CPR and AED was used, I think she would be here now."
Zehnder has since admitted that none of the park employees used an AED device on the child, claiming "its use was not indicated under the circumstances." CEO Al Zehnder said in a statement: "We sympathize with the Eisenbeis family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We are now in the litigation stage and can't comment directly on the case."
In February 2018, London was finally at the 48-inch minimum height for the 273-feet Super Loop Slide and begged her parents to take her to the park during President's Day weekend. The slide has a 40-feet straight drop with a 360-degree loop. The entire ride only lasts 6.9 seconds.
Before the active 10-year-old went on the slide, she gave her father a thumbs up as well as a huge smile. Tina said: "She was so excited that she could finally go on this water slide. And that was the last time my husband saw her smile."
Tina told The Sun that while she was sitting on the other side of the park, she heard a whistle go off and thought that some children were just "messing around". She said: "But within maybe minutes, I started seeing women looking terrified. One woman was walking with two children, grabbing them. She said, 'Somebody's drowned over there'. I kind of got nervous." The concerned mother tried to call her husband and then realized his phone was with her so she ran over to the slide.
She said: "[Jerry] was looking down and there were sheets up and I knew it was one of my kids. It was an awful thing. There were no signs of the condition. She just dropped. The day before, she had been doing flips in the air."
The child was rushed to a nearby hospital where it was found that she had the underlying condition of Long QT Syndrome. The doctors said that it was excitement that killed London, which threw her heart into an abnormal rhythm. Tina said: "We had no inclination that she had a heart condition. There were no symptoms." London was put on life support and her parents took turns staying by her bedside.
Tina said: "The one night we both came home — I was just wanting to take a shower and come back — I got a phone call from my dad who was with her. She'd gone into cardiac arrest again." Their daughter died after being on life support for nine days. London's mother said: "I would have taken her home with the brain damage but I'm glad she made that choice for us. She fought for nine days in the hospital, then she gained her angel wings."
The child was laid to rest in the dress that she was supposed to wear for her school's father-daughter dance, which took place on the same day as her funeral. The devastated mother has since vowed to make sure no family has to go through the pain she endured.
Just three weeks after the death of her daughter, Tina became an instructor for the American Heart Association. She then launched the London Strong Foundation to help grant defibrillators to the community and is in the process of writing legislation that will require genetic testing for heart defects at birth.
She said: "We check for the eyes and hearing, why not use an EKG and check for an underlying heart condition?" Tina is also working on making AED drills, which are also known as sudden cardiac arrest drills, mandatory across schools in Michigan.