Mother suing American Airlines over son’s heart attack death during flight, alleging defibrillator was faulty and crew unprepared

A New York City mother filed a federal lawsuit against American Airlines over the 2022 death of her 14-year-old son. The suit alleges that the plane’s onboard defibrillator did not function correctly and accuses the flight crew of being unprepared and not being properly trained to use the medical equipment.

Melissa Arzu and her son were on American Airlines flight 614 from Honduras to Miami after enjoying a family summer vacation. During the flight, her son suddenly experienced a medical emergency.

Her 14-year-old son, Kevin Greenidge, allegedly lost consciousness shortly after takeoff.

The lawsuit – filed in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, where American Airlines is headquartered – alleged that the flight crew was “delayed in responding” to Greenidge’s medical episode.

The lawsuit claims that crewmembers “eventually attempted to use” the plane’s automated external defibrillator, but they were “either unable to properly operate the machine or the machine did not function properly.”

The suit alleges that the crew was not properly trained on how to use the type of AED that was on the flight.

The flight made an emergency landing in Cancun, Mexico. Greenidge was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The New York Post reported that Kevin had been diagnosed with asthma and type 2 diabetes prior to his death, and that his primary cause of death was listed as “myocardial infarction” — commonly known as a heart attack.

The lawsuit claims that Greenidge’s chances of survival would have “vastly” increased if the flight had a functioning AED that the crew knew how to use.

“After Kevin died, I never heard from American Airlines,” Arzu said. “It made me feel hopeless. I want answers from American Airlines. I want American Airlines to take full responsibility for Kevin’s death. I never want this to happen to a child or family again.”

American Airlines told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Our thoughts are with Mr. Greenridge’s loved ones. We are going to decline further comment given this matter involves pending litigation.”

Hannah Crowe, the attorney representing Arzu, said, “The loss of a child is truly unimaginable, and the facts of this case are horrendous. Multiple eyewitnesses confirm that American Airlines flight personnel were slow to respond and not able to operate the AED machine, which appeared not to work.”

Crowe alleged, “After Kevin died, the equipment went missing. Did someone at American intentionally destroy it? Is it defective, but back out in service? These are all really serious violations of the federal laws that are in place to protect passengers.”

The lawsuit also claims that American Airlines failed to submit an advance payment of $113,100 for the sudden death of the teen, as per the company’s policy regarding the death of a passenger while on board.

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