Fort Worth

National case against American Airlines over woman’s death moved to Fort Worth court

Brittany Oswell died during a flight from Honulu to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport in 2016.
Brittany Oswell died during a flight from Honulu to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport in 2016. The State newspaper

The lawsuit spurred by a woman’s death in Fort Worth after she collapsed on an American Airlines flight was transferred to a Fort Worth federal district court Wednesday.

Brittany Oswell’s death made national news when her grieving parents and husband filed a lawsuit against the airline in 2018. The suit has been ongoing in South Carolina federal court for nearly a year.

On Wednesday, a judge agreed to transfer the case to the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth.

In 2016, Brittany Oswell and her husband, Cory Oswell, were flying back from their honeymoon in Honolulu to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport when she started to feel sick. She was dizzy, disoriented and slurring her speech, according to the lawsuit.

Oswell, 25, collapsed in the bathroom, where she vomited on flight attendants trying to help her. The flight was about two hours away from DFW Airport.

A doctor on board examined Oswell and told the crew that the plane needed to land immediately if Oswell was to survive, the lawsuit states.

“The doctor asked to land the plane three times,” Brandon Cranshaw, a lawyer representing Oswell’s family, told The State newspaper in a 2018 interview. “The doctor who was holding Brittany was begging them to land.”

The pilot did not land the plane.

When the flight landed at DFW Airport, Oswell was rushed to Baylor Medical Center. Doctors diagnosed her with a pulmonary embolism — a clot that blocks flood flow to one’s lungs — and said she had had multiple heart attacks on the flight. Oswell died three days later.

According to the lawsuit, the doctor who attempted to revive Oswell said the plane had faulty medical equipment. A blood pressure cuff would not work. When Oswell stopped breathing on the plane, the doctor and crew members put automated external defibrillator pads on Oswell’s chest. They tried tried three times to administer a shock, but the current wouldn’t go through.

In an interview with the New York Times in 2018, Oswell’s parents, Chris and Tina Starks, said the pilot should have landed the plane.

The judge, Mary Geiger Lewis, ruled in an opinion that the case should be moved to Fort Worth because it is more convenient for witnesses and the airline is based in Fort Worth.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram