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Asiana ICN-ORD pax fatality w/ no divert, inflicting 10 hrs trauma economy section

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Asiana ICN-ORD pax fatality w/ no divert, inflicting 10 hrs trauma economy section

Old 22nd Oct 2018, 13:13
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Asiana ICN-ORD pax fatality w/ no divert, inflicting 10 hrs trauma economy section

Dear All,

2 or 3 hours after departure from Seoul Incheon Airport a passenger showed signs of medical distress and subsequently passed away. Where would enroute alternate have been at that point? Narita, Cold Harbor, Anchorage? Wouldn't RFF at enroute diversion airfields been better suited to handle this passengers medical needs? And what about medlink satellite communication? The flight continued for another 10 hours with the deceased.

[Newsmaker] Passenger dies of heart attack onboard Asiana Airlines

For our Korean readers sourced from Yonhap News Agency

인천發 시카고行 아시아나항공 기내서 70대 심장마비死
출처 : 연합뉴스 네이버 뉴스
https://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn...05537&sid1=001
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 14:32
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Not enough information.

2 or 3 hours? How long actually?
showed signs? when, what?
subsequently passed away when?
what about medlink (you tell us, but you weren't there were you?)

Chances are, a highly professional combination of crew on board,
ground medical advice, quite possibly helped by medical professional(s)
who are so often available on board, and other factors (the late pax was from
ORD...etc) led to the decision to continue.
Quite probably a decision was properly made that the 300 pax to ORD
and the 300 pax back to ICN did not need to be disrupted by offloading
a deceased pax at an inappropriate (for her/him) location.
I'm familiar with this kind of event, and the dynamic completely changes
if the patient does unfortunately pass away. Difficult feelings for pax in
the immediate vicinity have to be balanced against the 600 others
involved. I have a strong feeling that 10 hrs trauma for an economy
section would not have been quite like you make it sound, especially
if compared to making an unnecessary divert to a place not beneficial
to the patient
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 14:49
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I agree with DeepInsider. It is not a sensible commercial decision to divert to offload a deceased passenger and can lead to the crew going out of hours and logistical nightmares with hotels. It also then leads to significant extra problems for relatives of the deceased offloaded passenger to get the body from some remote outstation to the place of burial which can be very expensive. So noone really benefits from the diversion.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 15:22
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An out-of-hospital heart attack is statistically not survivable. It depends on many factors of course, but being literally hours away from the neatest emergency room (of varying capability) does not bode well. It’s a risk every single passenger assumes when boarding a flight, long haul or not.

Taking a fully-laden widebody into an enroute alternate airport is not without elevated risk for everyone else on board. Some of you wouldn’t make good commanders with your emotion-driven responses. A physician on board and medical advice via satcom would have been taken into account during the decision process. It’s not about costs, but rather, managing risk.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 15:24
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Originally Posted by Dog Star View Post
Wouldn't RFF at enroute diversion airfields been better suited to handle this passengers medical needs?
Without wishing to belittle the situation, nor the impact on other passengers, a pax who has been confirmed dead has no further "medical needs".
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 15:28
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With all respect if he is dead the plane can and should go on to the destination. It's not unheard of that people travel unfit to fly and die on planes.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 15:32
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To have been confirmed dead during the flight would, i assume, require a properly qualified doctor who, again i assume, must have been on board. While I understand the operational considerations, I'm not sure I'd want to spend 10 hours in a confined space with a dead body.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 15:34
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Would you want to land in the middle of nowhere with a dead body? It's not about saving a life anymore. BTW: He will continue on your flight just a level below you.
Block a lav so noboy needs to sit next to him for hours.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 15:42
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I have no problem whatsoevet with the fact that they continued to their destination with the deceased on board, nor would I have had any problem being a passenger on that flight.
I am however mildly curious about the need to point out,
highly professional combination of crew
I expect that every time I board a commercial airliner.
Per
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 15:55
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
Would you want to land in the middle of nowhere with a dead body? It's not about saving a life anymore. BTW: He will continue on your flight just a level below you.
Block a lav so nobody needs to sit next to him for hours.
What? Are you suggesting propping him up and sitting him on the loo? There is just no good place on an airliner to deal with this unfortunate situation. The decision to divert should have been made at first sign of distress, Japan, Russia, China all have good facilities for these diverts. I wouldn't want to put my decision to continue ten more hours into the hands of someone on board who claims to be a doctor.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 16:53
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Did any of you read the news article provided. [Newsmaker] Passenger dies of heart attack onboard Asiana Airlines This is what it said:

"The captain reported a medical emergency on board after the man, 76, experienced heart attack symptoms and collapsed. Flight attendants made an announcement and found a physician, who performed CPR in an attempt to save the sick man, but he was pronounced dead."

So out over the Bering Sea you want a likely over-weight widebody to divert to Cold Bay (or perhaps to Anchorage 2-3 hours further distant) in order to off-load a corpse?

Instead, I hear drivel like divert to Russia or backtrack to Manchuria where they "have good facilities for these diverts." Do tell what they are? Why would you assume that if the flight crew thought there was a reasonable chance (or any chance) of saving this person's life that they did not follow it? Or impugn there identity of the person who attended to the man by stating that he just "claims to be a doctor." If the choice is between receiving immediate attention from someone who claims to be (or actually is) a physician on an airplane versus taking a 2-hour diversion to an ER in Kamchatka, I know which I would choose.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 17:27
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Originally Posted by suninmyeyes View Post
I agree with DeepInsider. It is not a sensible commercial decision to divert to offload a deceased passenger and can lead to the crew going out of hours and logistical nightmares with hotels. It also then leads to significant extra problems for relatives of the deceased offloaded passenger to get the body from some remote outstation to the place of burial which can be very expensive. So noone really benefits from the diversion.
Aside from the expense, there are significant legal consequences to the person's estate if they are declared dead in a remote location. And some local coroners will impound the plane for a quarantine period as happened with a fatality on descent into Portugal. Fortunately, I've never had a death onboard as an operating crewmember, I have had it happen years ago as a passenger on a company ticket though.

I've always been trained not to say in company communications that someone has died in flight, rather say they are unresponsive and not breathing. Also, if possible, avoid a declaration of death until after landing to avoid questions of jurisdiction.

If the flight was OZ236 on October 11, it was a B-772 on the 'P' route, A590 over the NOPAC. Diverting overweight to UHPP to offload a deceased pax would not be my choice.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 17:50
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It is also better to have them officially declared dead when on the jetway after landing. Saves a huge amount of paperwork and the aircraft doesn't get impounded. Before you ask, it has indeed happened to me.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 18:36
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If the patient has died any need to divert ends. It would be daft to divert to disembark a corpse, why would anyone even consider that?

"Trauma" suffered by other pax? People don't suffer trauma because a stranger nearby's snuffed it. They'll certainly get mighty aerated if they end up in Nuuq or Goose or Assend of Nowhere unnecessarily with an out of hours crew and a 20hr delay though.

I'm not sure I'd want to spend 10 hours in a confined space with a dead body
Why not? They don't smell any worse than you. They aren't contagious. They aren't a threat to anyone. What's the problem? They're no more offensive than someone who's asleep for Heaven's sake. At least they don't snore.

What a fuss about nothing.
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Old 22nd Oct 2018, 18:56
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I will simply say that as a frequent passenger I personally find that the decision made was without question the correct one and I am yet again astounded by the drivel spewed out by posters who simply have not checked the facts!
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 01:39
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And some pax are witless. Work colleague had heart issues and doctor advised not to travel overseas. He went anyway, to the US, had medical issue there and decided to return to Oz because of the medical financial implications inherent in staying in the US. Didn't make it, died enroute. Nice guy too, but made poor choices after being given good advice. This thread comes on top of the lass who died from an asthma attack while on board and some posters were giving the crew a hiding over their actions. You and I were not there, give the crews a break, they do their best in trying circumstances, in the two cases I cite, the pax knew they had problems prior to boarding, how about a little responsibility there? Perhaps airlines should be giving pax a full medical prior to boarding - just kidding.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 02:39
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I wouldn't want to put my decision to continue ten more hours into the hands of someone on board who claims to be a doctor.
".....impugn the identity of the person who attended to the man by stating that he just "claims to be a doctor."
Every time a doctor has been requested on any flight I have been it was always a call for "A medical doctor" I guess to deter PhD individuals from volunteering.
My daughter is a UK hospital "consultant" and previously as a hospital doctor has volunteered when on board.
She has her UK General Medical Council ( GMC) Registration Number and other forms of ID so she can be easily checked out with a call to the ground.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 03:01
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At my US based major airline we have a
policy against and will not declare anyone
deceased in flight


Doctors onboard will be solicited, all assistance used and co ordination with
Med Link will help in making the divert decision but this scenario ‘he’s dead so
we might as well continue’ would not be
acceptable
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 03:13
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That's the US where fear of a lawsuit overrides everything else. The patient had been pronounced dead by a physician, had the doctor advised the Captain to divert but the flight continued and the patient died a few hours later it would be a whole different matter.

Some long haul aircraft even have a special storage area for a body in the event that someone dies in flight.
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Old 23rd Oct 2018, 03:40
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Originally Posted by stilton View Post
Doctors onboard will be solicited, all assistance used and co ordination with
Med Link will help in making the divert decision but this scenario ‘he’s dead so
we might as well continue’ would not be
acceptable


Not sure I understand what you are saying. Would your airline divert to say, Petro (UHPP) to have the local official declare the pax deceased? Would you risk having the plane impounded pending a death investigation? Would you offload the body in Kamchatka? Or have it transferred to the cargo hold after necessary paperwork and formalities were accomplished?

But it is indeed the Catch 22 that you can't say the passenger is dead so you can't say that further assistance will not be rendered even if you know that it would be futile.

ANC has a gas and go service for offloading rowdy trans-pac pax with an on call magistrate and FBI agent to process them into federal custody. Unfortunately, many perps seem to be on the catch and release program but at least they run up a tab to discourage future misbehavior. Perhaps the Anchorage folks could process a death with a quick stop as well but at that point why not press on to ORD as OZ did?
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