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Family slams Ryanair after heart attack scare

Family slams Ryanair after heart attack scare

Published: 04 Aug 2011 09:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Aug 2011 12:17 GMT+02:00

A furious Swedish family has blasted a Ryanair cabin crew after a passenger slipped into cardiac arrest and was just offered a sandwich and soda.

"We want Ryainair to apologise," disgruntled passenger Billie Appleton told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Appleton's stepfather, 63-year-old Per-Erik Jonsson, fell ill during the flight back to Sweden from England on Sunday and at one point went into cardiac arrest,

According to Appleton, staff onboard were hopelessly ill-equipped to treat him.

“They said he had low blood pressure and gave him a sandwich and a soda. And they made sure he paid for it,” she told the newspaper.

The incident occurred about an hour into the flight to Sweden when Jonsson broke into a cold sweat and asked his wife for some water.

Suddenly his wife realised that Jonsson had lost consciousness and while she alerted staff, Appleton, a nurse, intervened.

“He didn’t respond when I tried to shake him. But after I slapped him in the chest, he began breathing again," she said, adding that staff only reacted when she shouted for a doctor and that he needed oxygen.

Their diagnosis, according to Appleton, was that it was a blood pressure problem and that he should have something to eat.

She claimed that once the situation had stabilised, the only attention they got from the crew was when they asked for payment for the food and drink.

According to the EU regulations, all cabin crew should be fully trained in first-aid and the pilot should always alert air traffic control when a passenger falls seriously ill.

In a statement issued to The Local, Ryanair spokesperson Stephen McNamara defended the cabin crew's handling of the situation, adding that they are all trained in accordance with EU requirements.

“In line with procedures for such cases a Ryanair cabin crew suggested a diversion to the nearest airport or to have an ambulance on stand-by on arrival at Skavsta, so that the passenger could receive medical treatment," he said.

"However, the passenger’s companion, who identified herself as a nurse, declined this offer.”

But Jonsson's family disputed the airline's version of events and were surprised there was no ambulance waiting for them when they landed, forcing them to drive the critically ill 63-year-old to the hospital themselves.

Meanwhile the family is apparently considering legal action against the airline.

Ryanair last came under fire December 2010 when a passengers were forced to wait on the runway of a Gothenburg airport for five hours without food or drink.

The Local/gm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:49 August 4, 2011 by J Jack
That's why we call it RyanScare.
10:57 August 4, 2011 by byke
What nationality were the flight staff?
11:07 August 4, 2011 by andyron2
Ryanair doing so bad that they ask for payment for the sandwitch and soda?

Do they charge for toilet as well? better carry change, just in case.
11:12 August 4, 2011 by Keith #5083
Maybe they did call for an ambulance! Recently in Sweden such calls have not met with such appropriate responses from privatised ambulance emergency services. So, how did anyone know he had low blood pressure? Did he, the nurse, Ryanair have a BP machine?

Did this man have a history of heart problems and/or BP problems if so was he carrying/taking medication or did he have medication available to assist him if an attack occured?

I personally have had many such attacks and do fully appreciate how distressing it is for those in my presence when it happens.It is very distressing for the patient to see their distress, so cool and calm heads are a great help to the patient.

What - precisely - is being meant here by the term 'cardiac arrest'? Are we talking about the heart stopping completely, fibrilation problems, or what?
11:27 August 4, 2011 by Abe L
It's Ryainair, they are notoriously famous for poor service, poor quality and an in general horrible flight experience. I am not surprised at all by this news and I hope such incidents will ground their fleet until every member of staff has passed new qualifications for medical assistance.

Vote with your wallet and just avoid this airline, you're better off staying at home if you can't afford flying with a real airline.
11:29 August 4, 2011 by PoJo
I will never take Ryan Air again, I have been witness to horrible flights and flight attendants. This just makes me even more convinced.
11:48 August 4, 2011 by RobinHood
Though it pains me to defend Ryan Air, it seems that Appleton ("a trained nurse") was the person best qualified on the flight to deal with diagnosing and treating someone having a heart attack. Sometimes you just have to make the best of the limited resources you have. A qualified nurse who pays attention to the medical diagnosis of a flight attendant (who probably went on a one-day basic first aid course several years ago) really ought to know better.

Pilots are trained to delegate decisions to those best qualified to make them, and to prioritise flying the plane. If I were the pilot, I would also have delegated decisions about treatment, ambulances and emergency landings to the nurse. On aircraft, pilots fly, cabin staff do coffee, and nurses do heart attacks. If you ask them to exchange roles, things don't go well.

The fact that the cabin staff asked the family to pay for the drink is all the more reason why cabin staff should not be asked to diagnose and treat people suffering from heart attacks.

On a short haul flight, an emergency landing probably wouldn't save much time anyway, often the right thing to do is to step on the gas and get where you're going ASAP.

If something similar happens to you, bypass the flight crew, and ask to speak with the pilot. If you insist on an emergency landing, it is very difficult for the pilot to decline (unless the original destination is faster); it's a career ending move if he/she declines, and someone dies on his/her plane as a consequence.
11:49 August 4, 2011 by Nomark
Ryanair claimed they offered to land the plane at a nearby airport and, quite reasonably, left a trained nurse to care for the gent in question. They also say they offered to arrange for an ambulance.

I have no idea if their version or Appleton's is correct. In light of this, its unwise to slate Ryanair just because an allegation has been made. Ryanair's history in offering poor customer service is irrelevant. This is special case in its own right.

I can't stand Ryanair but I want some evidence before condeming this on this one.
11:57 August 4, 2011 by BrittInSweden
RyanAir offered a sandwich and drink?

Did they have to pay extra for it?
11:59 August 4, 2011 by Elisedal
What was Appleton´s diagnosis. She´s an actual nurse. If it wason an SJ train they´d have been asked to get off.
12:00 August 4, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Per-Erik Jonsson must travel always with Nitromex in his pockets. His wife too. Believe me. After 2 tripple by-passes, I know what I am talking about.

As for Ryanair, I can that I have never flight with it, but I have flight with many, many airlines around the world and I have found intelligent and helpfull flight attendants as well as stupid ones. So, whoever takes care of you, cross your fingers that they understand your language or your body language and do not offer you a sandwich and try to collect its price later.
12:14 August 4, 2011 by Keith #5083
#J.L.Belmar

Nitromex - I agree. Only applicable, however, if this gentleman had a diagnosed condition prior to this flight.This we are not told. Nor are we told about his food,beverage or alcohol consumption prior to and on board this flight.

Did he eat the sandwich?

I will defend Ryanair for their service to me on other flights. I have never - never - experienced anything but good flight attendants. I fly Ryanair in preference to other airlines where I could re-iterate a lengthy list of complaints.

There is something in this report which does not reflect the normal service, at least not according to the report as stated.

Notwithstanding, I hope Per-Erik's condition has stabilised and that he is fully recovering.
12:26 August 4, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
12:14 August 4, 2011 by Keith #5083

Do you really expect that at The Local you will read complete stories? You are a little naive. It is we, its readers and commentators who are always pinpointing their lack of journalism professionality, whether many of our "kompisar" do not like it, but, so what.

I will try Ryanair next time I am flying to London. I am going there in two weeks with SAS. I already went to the church to confess all my sins.
12:39 August 4, 2011 by ebsor12
#J.L.Belmar

Very well said, U fly with Ryan it is your choice . But u never know that u can fly again ......
13:05 August 4, 2011 by calebian22
RobinHood,

Considering the loose definition of the word nurse in Sweden, one has to wonder how qualified Appelton actually was? Was Appleton UK trained or Sweden trained? A US friend of mine went to university here in Sweden and completed a 4 year nursing program. When he went back to the US, he had to take another year of schooling, since the Swedish program was light on medical, and heavier on fluff your pillow classes. His words, "Sweden focuses more on the touchy feely rather than hard science."

What was the actually diagnosis when they arrived at the hospital?
13:28 August 4, 2011 by BillyB
Just as well they didnt call ambulance.

The state the Swedish healthcare system is in means he would be lucky if the operator decided to send one, and if he was lucky enough to get one he would be fortunate to end up at the right right hospital.

Once there they would amputate some totally unrelated appendage, he would not have a bed but have to sleep in the toilets, catch all kinds of viruses and be lucky to ever leave.

thats not my opinion, but factual stories from the last few days on the news!!!!

On the Ryan air flight he had food and drink, a seat and a nurse!

If i ever get ill here, i will be straight on the phone to book a flight with Ryanair. Far far far better service.
13:54 August 4, 2011 by Grindsprint
BillyB it´s so amusing to see all the desperate attempts to defame the most well functioning country in the world just out of bitterness. That is why I come here - to see just that. the proof of swedish success. keep it up. thank you
14:24 August 4, 2011 by darky
Firstly, how much was their plane ticket for the flight? We should expect such nasty attitudes when we pay cheap. If u want good services, then pay more. That is the rule. Period!
14:39 August 4, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Something's not right in this article. He suffered from cardiac arrest and slipped into unconsciousness. Then he got slapped on the chest and recovered enough to have a drink and a sandwich. Now I'm no doctor, although I do have my scouts first aid badge, but isn't a defibrilator essential in such circustances?
15:07 August 4, 2011 by cogito
Ah for the good old days, when SAS had a monopoly and the Stockholm-London route was the most expensive in the world.

I'd rather be in the hands of Ryanair flight attendants than some of the staff in Swedish hospitals.
15:44 August 4, 2011 by BillyB
"the most well functioning country in the world "

best line ive heard in years! brilliant!!!
15:55 August 4, 2011 by Grindsprint
aawwww :) but deep down you know the truth about your delusions. Get well soon
16:28 August 4, 2011 by graphixperson
@ Grindsprint

It's not defamation at all. I recognized every single article in his post. Granted, they were written by TL, but still news articles nonetheless.
17:42 August 4, 2011 by Grindsprint
Still, the the way people on here are so desperate to spin everything into sweden being rotten and swedes being bad because of news reporting of freak occurences are intellectually completely corrupt. Meanwhile in America, another crack head baked her baby in the oven. Is that typical for americans then? proof of their immoral ways and corrupt system? I think not. But on here, everything is proof of swedens dysfunctionality. It truly is pathetic
20:12 August 4, 2011 by graphixperson
True, on a whole, more bad things happen in a America. However, I rarely see Americans claiming that our systems are perfect (mainly because very few even understand them) and that nothing bad ever happens here. In contrast, mostly I have seen from Swedes so far is a "That would never happen in Sweden" attitude, maybe the Local sees that too, hence articles about the indiscriminate chopping of breasts, kicking little kids off trains, and ethnic-cleansing snipers. Bad things do happen in Sweden, it's not a utopia.
00:40 August 5, 2011 by Smallnose
I think it is purely a racial thing by those Irish.
08:27 August 5, 2011 by tuerd1982
@ andyron2 "Do they charge for toilet as well?" good question.
10:00 August 5, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
12:14 August 4, 2011 by Keith #5083

You wrote: "Nitromex - I agree. Only applicable, however, if this gentleman had a diagnosed condition prior to this flight.This we are not told".

Do you mean that you do not buy a car insurance until after you have smashed the vehicle into a wall?

Sorry Keith, but I had a heart attack back in the 70s and my cardiolog at the time, told me:

"People should not only buy a life insurance but some nitroglycerin pils as well, just in case"

17:42 August 4, 2011 by Grindsprint

We are not talking about the USA. We are talking about what recently happened in a Ryanair flight. I truly believe that all comparisons are bad.

I have read many times complains from persons for not getting good service in Sweden. Out of the blue, someone comes stating that it is worse in Bangladesh. My reaction is: "And so what?, We are not in Bangladesh, we are in Sweden.
10:01 August 5, 2011 by gmaddalo
I don't know how serious it was but it's out of discussion that the Swedish Health care system is really lacking in professionality. The doctors visit you watching the clock, 10 min and then out it does not matter if you might need more care, this to save money. A doctor explained me this :) Regarding how prepared the doctors are in Sweden, well i work in academia and i can tell you that the funds are distributed to the departments in function of the number of students passing the exams. These are facts! In practice, it means that the Swedish system promotes corruption and everybody pass the exam. Results: you have doctors or professionals that act like dogs.
10:31 August 5, 2011 by Grindsprint
@ graphixperson I was talking about how the regular commenters here take every chance they get to talk crap about sweden. And my earlier comment about sweden being the best functioning country in the world was deliberately provocative. Stories about kids being kicked off trains are news-worthy because of how unusual those kinds of things are. Not because they are "typical Sweden", as the local´s commenting mob so desperately want to spin it. I am just wondering what their problem is.
12:40 August 5, 2011 by cogito
@Grindaprint (#24 &30)

"crack-head baby in the oven..." Huh???

You win the day's prize for first person to bring up an irrational and irrelevant comparison to the USA.

There is nothing "typical of America." It is too big and diverse for sweeping generalisations.

What is typical of Swedes, however, is the nationalist indoctrination that passes for education here.
16:18 August 5, 2011 by conboy
Good job SJ rail don't run Ryanair or the skies might might be filled with ticketless eleven year old children landing in the North Sea.
01:33 August 7, 2011 by soultraveler3
@Grindsprint, you spoke about crack, maybe you should cut back a bit. ;)

You seem a little edgy.

Btw, people on the Local complain about Sweden because most of us come from other countries and find it incredible that so many Swedes think their country is without fault.

All countries have their problems, but Swedes more than any other people I've met, have been brainwashed into believing that the education, healthcare, political policies, infrastructure, ideas, people, quality of life etc. are top notch and better than just about anywhere else in the world.

It's a joke and the amount of naivety here is scary to most of those who have been out in the world.

We don't hate Sweden, a majority of us like it or at least a few of the Swedes in it enough, that we decided to live here. I like the weather here, my friends and family, the 5 weeks vacation and the chocolate balls, that's about it.

It's hard living in a foreign country sometimes and I think it's completely natural for groups of people that speak the same language and that are going through similar things to kind of b#tch and grumble when they get together. It's a way to release some pressure and be reminded that you're not alone.
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