Man dies of apparent overdose on Delta flight: 'There's no Narcan'

Man dies of apparent overdose on Delta flight: 'There's no Narcan'

This article was originally published by Yahoo Lifestyle on July 15th, 2019.

A passenger alleges that a man overdosed and died on a Delta Air Lines flight, and the crew was not equipped with Naloxone, a drug that could have saved his life.

The incident took place on flight 2531, flying from Boston to Los Angeles on July 13. While Delta Air Lines tell Yahoo Lifestyle they are unable to share additional passenger information, the airline confirms that a medical emergency took place and that flights do not currently carry Naloxone.

Lynne Lyman shared what she witnessed on Twitter. According to her tweet, a man was allegedly found with a “needle in his arm” and “passed out” in the bathroom. She also alleges that paramedics took 10 minutes to arrive and carried the man out in a body bag.

The woman called out the airline and asked them to practice harm reduction — which is a set of strategies to reduce consequences associated with drug use — and to make sure they have Narcan, a brand of Naloxone, on all of their planes. 

Lyman tells Yahoo Lifestyle that nobody seemed to have noticed anything was amiss until they were close to landing and the cabin crew realized someone was still in the restroom. She says that once they got the door open, they found the man, who appeared unresponsive.

“They were doing everything they could. CPR, shock compressions, those shock things,” she recounts. “There were a number of children on board who were looking. I was trying to pull my child from looking.”

Lyman says that a woman, who was either a doctor or nurse, went to help and called out, “What we need is Narcan, and there’s no Narcan.”

While she tweeted that the man had a “needle in arm,” Lyman clarifies to Yahoo Lifestyle that she didn’t actually see a needle. Since he was bleeding from his arm, and there was talk about Narcan, she assumed there was one.

Even though the airline staff did not appear to have the medication they needed, Lyman says that they did the best they could.

Sara Nelson, who is the president of the Association of Flight Attendants responded to Lyman’s Tweet, explaining that flight attendants are only able to respond and save lives if there are tools to help them.

“In the air there are no options,” Nelson wrote. “I’m so sorry for you, Lynne, and the crew and other passengers who had to watch this.” 

The lack of Naloxone on board wasn’t the only concern for Lyman. She tells Yahoo Lifestyle that once they landed in Los Angles, emergency medical personnel took over 10 minutes to arrive, and she questioned why they weren’t more prepared.

“It was just a terrible 10 minutes after we were docked on the gate,” Lyman says. “Emergency people weren’t fast enough and we were waiting for them because we knew he was dying.”

She explains that once emergency medical personnel did arrive, they didn’t do much to help. “The Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics showed up. They didn’t do anything — they put him in a bag and zipped it, and just carried him out.”

Delta Air Lines was recently in the spotlight when one of their flights was forced to make an emergency landing last week after a part of its engine broke off mid-flight. Before that, an aggressive customer tried to storm a plane’s cockpit and had to be restrained by flight crew and other passengers.

Representatives from the Los Angeles Fire Department did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

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