Family of 14-year-old Who Died on American Airlines Flight Sue Over Faulty AED and Poorly Trained Crew

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The family of a deceased 14-year-old has filed a lawsuit against American Airlines after their child died during an in-flight emergency in 2022.

Fourteen-year-old Kevin Greenidge was flying home to New York City with his family from a summer vacation in Honduras when he suddenly lost consciousness and went into cardiac arrest shortly after takeoff.

When Greenidge went unconscious, the family called on the flight crew but said that the crew was slow to respond after the first call for help. When the crew did respond, the family said that the on-flight defibrillator was faulty and that the crew did not know how to use it.

The flight was then diverted to Cancún where the boy was admitted to a hospital but was later declared dead.

During the emergency, two medically trained professionals, one of whom was a doctor, were on the flight and stepped in to help. They directed the cabin crew to get the AED, but when it arrived the doctor noticed that it was not charged and did not have enough power to deliver the electric shock needed to help resuscitate a patient.

Since 2004, all aircraft have been required to have an onboard defibrillator. These AEDs are listed as part of an aircraft's minimum equipment list (MEL). As such, airlines are required to ensure AEDs are functioning properly before each flight —something the lawsuit argues American Airlines failed to do.

The family alleges that if the AED had been charged, functioning properly, and the crew were trained on how to use it, their son’s chances of survival would have “vastly” improved.

The lawsuit was originally filed in New York in 2023 but was refiled in the Northern District of Texas district court after the airlines pushed to have the lawsuit filed where the airline was headquartered. The boy’s mother, Melissa Arzu, shared with reporters that after her son’s death, the airlines never reached out to her with an explanation or an apology. “After Kevin died, I never heard from American Airlines again,” she says. "It made me feel hopeless. I want answers from American Airlines."

When contacted by news outlet Business Insider, the airlines shared, "Our thoughts are with Mr. Greenidge's loved ones" but did not add any further comment.

The lawsuit argues that the boy’s death was "caused wholly and solely by reason of the carelessness, recklessness, and negligence of the defendant.” The family is seeking over $150,000 in damages.

The family’s attorney, Hannah Crowe, adds that "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.”

Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate from James Madison University, where she studied English and Education. Residing in Central Virginia with her husband and two young daughters, she balances her workaholic tendencies with a passion for travel, exploring the world with her family.
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