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Nurse fury at Ryanair as woman dies on flight from Italy

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Nurse fury at Ryanair as woman dies on flight from Italy

Old 26th Sep 2006, 09:50
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Nurse fury at Ryanair as woman dies on flight from Italy

http://www.unison.ie/irish_independe...issue_id=14689

Airline criticised over lack of 'basic' equipment for mid-air lifesaving bid

A NURSE who had to give unprotected mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dying passenger on a Ryanair plane has hit out at the lack of medical equipment.

Kate Douglas, who was returning from a holiday in Venice, rushed to the aid of a 24-year-old au pair who had collapsed at the rear of the plane.

But she said the Ryanair staff were unable to provide her with any latex gloves or a resuscitation mask.

"I was basically giving that girl who I didn't know, mouth-to-mouth CPR, exchanging fluids. I wasn't not going to do it, but it's not a nice position to be placed in," she said.

The medical emergency arose on the Ryanair flight from Treviso in Italy to Dublin last Friday. The captain of the plane appealed for any medical personnel to come forward and Mrs Douglas, another Irish nurse and an Italian doctor all responded.

Mrs Douglas, from Youghal in Cork, said she could not believe the plane did not have basic medical equipment, such as an airway device or an ambu-bag which is used to force air into the lungs of people with breathing problems.

"We were in extreme difficulty doing the CPR because we didn't have that. It was very distressing anyway, but then you just get angry because there wasn't even the most basic equipment."

The 24-year-old woman was lain across three seats and given CPR for around 40 minutes while the Ryanair plane was diverted to Charleroi Airport in Belgium.

She was given further medical treatment by the emergency services when the plane landed but pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

The other Irish nurse on the flight, Suzanne Scott from Malahide in Dublin, said she had written to the Irish Aviation Authority to express her concerns.

"They didn't have any type of airway equipment although they did provide us with an oxygen bag and an oxygen cylinder. The staff did their best but they didn't seem to have much competence in first aid or CPR - one air hostess said she was only trained to take a pulse."

A Dublin family, who were due to receive the young woman as an au pair, wrote an e-mail to RTE's 'Liveline' programme to express their shock at her death. It is understood that she died from a brain haemorrhage.

Regulations

Under European aviation regulations, all planes on short-haul flights must have first-aid kits containing a list of 24 items, including one resuscitation mask and two pairs of latex gloves. However, there is no requirement to have medical equipment such as airway devices or ambu-bags.

Ryanair said all of its aircraft were stocked with two security-sealed first-aid kits, as required under the regulations. A spokeswoman said the first-aid kits on the Treviso-Dublin flight did contain four sets of latex gloves and two masks but she could not explain why the two nurses had not been provided with them.

"As the cause of death of this passenger has yet to be confirmed, it is pointless to speculate whether any piece of medical equipment could or would have averted this tragedy. All of our thoughts and prayers remain with the friends and family of the deceased."

The spokeswoman added that all Ryanair staff were trained in CPR.

The Irish Aviation Authority said it would respond to the nurses about the concerns they had raised. "But it's a medical matter and it's not really an aviation matter to be investigated," a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a Ryanair flight from London to Derry was forced to turn back last night after the captain collapsed with suspected food poisoning.

Passengers say they were around 15 minutes from Derry when the announcement was made and the plane was turning back to Stansted Airport.

The passengers were put on another flight.

Michael Brennan
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 10:25
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That must have been back it the dark ages then. On a recent CPR refresher course (non aviation) I was given a small pack to take away containing gloves and a barrier mask. The nurse is absolutely correct.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 10:41
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Reminded of the "exposé" of cabincrew training by one of the locos on UK television some time ago. If some of the crew had gone through that the fact that gloves etc. were not provided could be explained,
I'm sure there was discussion of this here but can't find it, also I don't think it was Ryanair that featured.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 11:04
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From memory I believe that ryr use std boeing first aid kits.Little inadequate kits that look like they were bought at woolies , tacky standard of equipment. They are a joke. This woman would have stood a better chance on a UK registered carrier with Doctors kits and extensive first aid kits theraputic oxygen and defibs, ie something for everything. This is the IAA's fault not ryr. They let them carry these mickey mouse kits and dont legislate for better equipment.Quite frankly their First aid training is a joke as well. But again the fault of the regulator for letting them do it.

Surely the sham of dublin being their head office should be addressed and the CAA make legal moves to change the situation.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 11:05
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Kalium,

Might be worth considering updating your first aid certificate as the aforementioned items are a must! A one-way valve and a pair of gloves are considered essential and, I would have thought, common sense!

Another example of them playing at aviation as opposed to doing it properly.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 11:16
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Df1,

They may be a 'must' in some eyes, but not essential in the requirments of doing CPR - they are required on courses and recommended.

They are a must to most 'sensible' first aid practitioners, but not essential. gloves and barrier do not prevent the first aider from providing the same level of cpr as they would be able to give with them.

farty flaps

This woman would have stood a better chance on a UK registered carrier with Doctors kits and extensive first aid kits theraputic oxygen and defibs, ie something for everything
depends on what her condition was whether your statement is true.

Defib machines are not the be all and end all, too many people get excited because they are allowed to use shiny pieces of kit that used to be only available to qualified medical staff. Defib machines work for what they are supposed to do, but only that.

As we do not know why the woman died, we cannot categorically state that having a fuller first aid kit would have helped her, although the basic kit that the IAA seems to allow could do with some enhancements.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 11:45
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Just to set the record straight:

I wasn't suggesting that you refuse to assist in the absence of these itmes in much the same way that you wouldn't refuse save someone from drowning because your didn't have you swim suit and goggles with you! I'm quite amazed that a commercial operation (especially airline) could find themselves without these basics. I agree that they are not essential to life saving itself and I wasn't suggesting that they were. They are essential in the sense that there really is no excuse not having them. It really is a matter of basics. I renewed my first aid certificate recently and there was a heck of a lot of emphasis on maintaining this personal hygene and safety standard.

My issue was with Ryanair apparently not having this most basic of eqiupment which is of trifling cost and in leaving a otherwise experienced nurse in a "not a nice position" to use her own words!
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 11:47
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You do not need rubber gloves or the mouth valve for mouth to mouth it is advisable but not essential. How many of you have been to a night club and kissed a total stranger.
Ryanair do have first aid kits on board aproved by by IAA and in one of them I believe does have a mouth piece and gloves.
The question is now why did the crew not use them who knows state of panic we all make mistakes when we are faced with stressfull situations.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 11:50
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Originally Posted by Kalium Chloride View Post
I can just picture it now. Fellow on his back in the middle of the street, not breathing. Fifty people standing around looking at one another, saying: "Sorry, can't try saving his life, I don't have a rubber glove on me."
Sheesh.
well.
1. i was told to hold the person's mouth closed and blow into the nose. so unless the face is a total mess, there should be little exchange of fluids.
2. on the street u can call an ambulance. in the air u can call it, too. but the medics' arms will be to short to get up to you. so it would be nice to have *some* usefull equipment.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 11:52
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Originally Posted by anotherthing View Post
As we do not know why the woman died, we cannot categorically state that having a fuller first aid kit would have helped her, although the basic kit that the IAA seems to allow could do with some enhancements.
From the article above...
It is understood that she died from a brain haemorrhage.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 12:21
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Originally Posted by despegue View Post
Why on earth should you need masks and gloves for doing CPR?! Ok, if it is available, you can use them, but these items do not improve any chances of survival.

er ....they do sport - if the victim is HIV they will increase your chances of survival no end!

What a numpty
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 12:22
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Just out of interest, how many people do die on planes in a year?
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 12:27
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Well I can only comment on the time i had a seal problem on a kit for ryr. During the audit of the contents I was shocked by the poor quality of equipment. It was of no higher standard than a kit in a vw or boots off the shelf little first aid box. Compare that to the compulsory Extensive doctors kits and uk first aid kits and there is a greater chance , as i said , in any med emergency to get treated with the kit that might save you on a uk aircraft.I'm not blaming ryr , just its pet regulator and the other toothless tigers at the belgrano.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 12:36
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despegue - My brother's best mate is a copper. One of his pals performed CPR on a local alcoholic tramp who had collapsed.

The herpes he got that day will stay with him forever.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 12:37
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Irishboy

thanks for that I must really read the initial post more closely!!!

That said, a defib would, more than likely, not have helped in this sad case.

FCS

So how would you deal with a brain haemorrhage even if the A/C had the extended kit?

If it was fitted out as per IAA regulations, who is more to blame, RYR for being shoddy and trying to get away with the bare minimum (a budget airline after all - the clue is in the word 'Budget'), or the IAA??
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 12:37
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Originally Posted by Irishboy View Post
http://www.unison.ie/irish_independe...issue_id=14689
The Irish Aviation Authority said it would respond to the nurses about the concerns they had raised. "But it's a medical matter and it's not really an aviation matter to be investigated," a spokesman said.
If this is an accurate quote then I find this lack of concern by the IAA absolutely staggering.
In the UK the CAA used to approve the extensive medical training courses which CC and Flight crew undertake, and their refresher training. They also approve the medical kits, drugs and equipment carried on board. To say that it's not an aviation matter in Ireland is staggering.
What I find equally difficult to accept is that RYR is also one of the UK's major operators, it isn't really good enough to operate within the UK to inferior standards by hiding behind another regulators lax standards.
On a final point whilst some conditions may have come on slowly it would appear that this patient was not breathing and had no pulse, and yet it took 40 minutes to land at a suitable airport whilst carrying out CPR?
Tell the cabin crew to throw all the trays etc. in the toilets and you should be able to get it on the ground in 15 minutes max from anywhere in Europe!
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 12:56
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Originally Posted by Seat1APlease View Post
If this is an accurate quote then I find this lack of concern by the IAA absolutely staggering.
In the UK the CAA used to approve the extensive medical training courses which CC and Flight crew undertake, and their refresher training. They also approve the medical kits, drugs and equipment carried on board. To say that it's not an aviation matter in Ireland is staggering.
What I find equally difficult to accept is that RYR is also one of the UK's major operators, it isn't really good enough to operate within the UK to inferior standards by hiding behind another regulators lax standards.
On a final point whilst some conditions may have come on slowly it would appear that this patient was not breathing and had no pulse, and yet it took 40 minutes to land at a suitable airport whilst carrying out CPR?
Tell the cabin crew to throw all the trays etc. in the toilets and you should be able to get it on the ground in 15 minutes max from anywhere in Europe!
Does anyone know what the communication was between cabin crew and pilots? I know the statement seems to be and it is cruel and morbid, but passengers traveling on a US carrier in the states never die in flight... they always die on short final.
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 13:06
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Exclamation come on now--

15 minutes??

a bit optimistic aren't we?

have you read reports of other emergencies recently? once you declare an emergency, you had better make sure all your "eyes" are dotted and "tees" crossed, because the multiple CAA's and JAA will go over every thing you said (recorded) and did with a fine tooth comb.

the only thing that would merit a "balls to the wall get down on the ground" event would be a fire! or loss of both engines and neither one came back!

if they didn't have the charts to their diversion airport at hand, weather, approach speeds, etc, it would take some time to get ready to do the approach.

we cannot risk the aircraft and all others on board and maybe others on the ground to possibly save one passenger.

Last edited by stator vane; 26th Sep 2006 at 13:07. Reason: spelling
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 13:12
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Neither the mask/shield nor the gloves in debate here would improve a persons chances of survival or improve the quality of their treatment - I think that we all agree.

The Red Cross first aid advice is that gloves are considered as the "basic materials" and the mask as a "useful edition" in a first aid kit. Without argument then neither are vital to life saving.

They do however form part of a kit which ought to be readily available and low in cost (excluding defrib etc) in any commercial workplace especially one which accomodates a fare-paying public. All staff, particularly any nominated first-aiders, should know where the kit is located and how to access it. Putting one of these kits together isn't brain surgery and neither is checking its inventory.

As I read it, the nurse thought these elementary yet important items. she takes issue with not having or being able to access a basic set of eqiupment - including equipment to protect herself from injury or infection.

Really, this is not at all about what equipment helps or doesn't help save lives - what saves lives is a proper approach to dealing with emergencies and Ryanair, it seems, sails close to the wind. It is absolutely about the reputation of an airline that digs itself deeper and deeper into a hole that it is reluctant to climb out of. Maybe, though, when the average cost of a decent first aid kit is more than the average price of the ticket it might be worth pax reconsidering who they fly with. Next time we might not be debating rubber gloves but something more sinister! I sincerely hope not!

Last edited by df1; 26th Sep 2006 at 13:26. Reason: can't spell
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Old 26th Sep 2006, 14:00
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Sounds like this pax coned, so all the CPR in the world wouldn't have made any difference.

I hate to say this, but without suction, a laryngoscope and a cuffed tube CPR of someone who's really not breathing isn't that successful. Like as not the airway is full of vomitus or gastric contents that's hard to clear and keeps coming back. The stomach inflates and it's almost impossible to ventilate someone successfully for long, if at all.

External cardiac massage may keep a bit of circulation going, but it isn't enough. If you can't get at least some spontaneous cardiac output pretty quickly then it's sayonara.

For effective on-the-street CPR you need good ventilation, circulatory access (a drip), the right drugs, a defib, some idea of what you're doing and a lot of luck.

T-shirt, etc.
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