American Airlines sued for 'wrongful death' of 25-year-old nurse on its flight

American Airlines is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after the family of a passenger says the flight crew ignored a doctor's repeated requests to make an emergency landing.


                            American Airlines sued for 'wrongful death' of 25-year-old nurse on its flight
(Source: Getty Images)

American Airlines is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after a midflight embolism claimed the life of a 25-year-old woman from South Carolina.

On April 16, 2016, a nurse named Brittany Oswell was flying from Hawaii to her home with her husband on American Airlines flight A102. She began to feel "dizzy and disoriented" midflight and fainted. As per court documents obtained by Columbia's The State, Oswell spoke to a doctor aboard the flight after regaining consciousness who initially believed she was suffering from a panic attack.

But a few hours later, as the flight was crossing Albuquerque, New Mexico, Brittany's husband Cory took her to the lavatory, where she vomited, collapsed on the floor and defecated on herself.

The same doctor rushed to examine Oswell once again and instructed flight attendants to notify the pilot so the plane could be landed at the nearest airport where she could receive the appropriate medical attention that she required.


The lawsuit claims that although the doctor had notified the pilot about Oswell's symptoms, the captain elected to consult with another doctor on the ground, following which, he decided to continue on to their original destination of  Dallas-Forth Worth which was about 90 minutes away.

The doctor wanted to help Oswell as much as he could aboard the flight and so he asked for the medical equipment available on the plane. To his dismay, the equipment wasn't functioning. One blood pressure machine was giving an error while the other one was broken.

Without proper medical intervention, Oswell stopped breathing and subsequently lost her pulse. The doctor tried to use the defibrillator in a last-ditch effort to save her life, but even after three attempts, no shock was administered. The doctor then took turns with the flight crew and tried CPR, but Oswell never responded.



Oswell was taken to Baylor Medical Center once the plane landed. On April 18, 2016, three days after she collapsed, doctors declared that she was brain dead and had to be taken off life support. The lawsuit states that the cause of her death was deemed as acute massive pulmonary embolism and cardiogenic shock.

Now, the family of the deceased nurse is suing American Airlines, claiming negligence on their part for failing to divert the plane, and related things, which they believe cause her death. THe Oswells are seeking damages for severe emotional distress, grief, sorrow, and anxiety. The amount is yet to be determined by a jury.

Brad Cranshaw, the attorney representing Oswell's family, said that they are currently waiting for an answer from American Airlines to answer the lawsuit. 

It’s a tragedy. We can’t go back in time. The airline can’t give us back Cory’s wife, but we’re interested to know what the airline plans to do,” he said.

Oswell’s mother, in a conversation with ABC News, said that she believes the issue was “not taken very seriously,” claiming that Brittany died because “someone made a business decision to keep flying a plane when she needed emergency medical help.”

Fox News received a statement from a spokesperson at American Airlines with regards to the incident: "We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we are looking into the details of the complaint.”


2018 has been a turbulent year for quite a few airlines running commercial flights.

Back in March, a dog died due to lack of oxygen on a United Airlines flight after an attendant forced the owners to keep him in the overhead cabin. This month, a ceiling panel fell on a 10year-old child's head on an American Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Dallas. The airline has been rampantly accused of racism, causing the decision makers to make a company-wide anti-racism training mandatory.