Lawsuit fears spur airlines into protecting heart-attack victims
Sunday 01 December 1996
The airline is ordering 300 of the portable devices, which will be introduced in March 1997. It is training 2,300 flight attendants to use them.
The American Airlines move comes a month after the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approved the use of defibrillators on domestic flights in the US. It is thought that the airline is attempting to head off possible lawsuits by passengers who received inadequate treatment during medical emergencies.
"The safety of passengers is our paramount concern," said Lizann Peppard, a spokesperson for American Airlines. "But if it saves us money by avoiding costly litigation, that's a bonus."
The battery-powered defibrillators sense abnormal heart rhythms and deliver controlled electric shocks to stop the heart so it can restart with a normal rhythm. They are the latest and most sophisticated piece of kit to be included in the in-flight medical kit, which began life as a box containing bandages, smelling salts, iodine, and morphine (to calm hysterical passengers).
Until recently, the kit remained largely unchanged. Then some long-haul airlines introduced drugs to relieve stomach ulcers, asthma attacks and diabetic conditions. The British Airways medical kit now carries 88 items, including powerful prescription drugs that can only be administered by a doctor. United Airlines has a device that communicates a patient's vital signs to doctors on the ground via modem and satellite telephone.
Medical opinion remains divided on how useful defibrillators would be at 35,000 feet. Cor- respondence in the Lancet has indicated that between 500 and 1,000 people die from heart attacks on planes in a given year, but that defibrillators are only useful if the victim can be put into intensive care immediately.
A spokesperson for British Airways said it did not plan to introduce defibrillators, but that "the situation was under review". There were 2,629 medical incidents among the 36 million people who flew on BA last year, of which 61 were heart-related.
Virgin Atlantic claims it was the first airline to introduce defibrillators when it put them on its transatlantic jumbos in 1990. Since then the machines have been used eight times.
Qantas has included defibrillators as part of its standard equipment on long-haul flights for five years, and claims to have saved six lives. In 1994 a Qantas attendant used the machine to resuscitate a woman whose heart had stopped. The incident precipitated calls from the American Heart Association for defibrillators to be included inmedical equipment, and led to the FAA's approval of the devices.
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
Sally Farmiloe dead: Howards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, dies aged 60
Women in Turkey have a laugh in public at the deputy Prime Minister's expense
Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Australian model Robyn Lawley stages naked protest against huge coal mine seven times the size of Sydney Harbour
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...
£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...