Life and Death at 35,000 Feet
What happens if you have a medical crisis on an airplane at 35,000 feet?
The first true public access to the lifesaving defibrillation on a major scale was in air travel and isrelated in all its glory and detail by the pioneering physician David McKenas in this volume. Dr McKenasas the medical leader of American Airlines used his military trained and public health education toconvince the airlines to commit to the expense of a defibrillator on every airplane and education of25,000 flight attendants in using the device with no anticipation of financial benefit. The result was littleglory but great satisfaction! READ ON!
Myron L WeisfeldtMD, Professor of Medicine. Johns HopkinsMedical School, Former President of the American Heart Association
The pioneering work of Dr. McKenas and his small team at American Airlines more than 20 years agohas led to the saving of thousands of lives, not only aboard American’s planes, but in all sorts of publicplaces in America and around the world, including lives saved aboard cruise ships. This story of how thisman’s quite unique and remarkable background and training prepared him to leave a big mark on theworld is a fun and fascinating read.
Roger FrizzellSenior Vice President & Chief CommunicationsOfficer at Carnival Corporation & Plc. and former Vice President and Corporate Officer at American Airlines.
McKenas and Reed provide a first-hand, captivating examination of the story behind American’slifesaving decision to put defibrillators on board its aircraft. It is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look athow corporate profits were pushed aside for the greater good.
Gary KennedyFormer General Counsel of American Airlines and author of Twelve Years of Turbulence, the Inside Story of American Airlines’ Battle for Survival.
In-flight medical emergencies are rare but not unknown. I’ve been on three flights over the decades on which one occurred. None was life-threatening, but these bring home the need to prepare. Instant treatment for cardiac emergencies is mandatory to save lives. The story about how defibrillator were added to aircraft as standard emergency equipment is important and gratifying in its result.
Scott HamiltonEditor of Leeham News and managing director of Leeham Co. consulting company
The thought that one person can make a difference is in and of itself inspirational. Knowing that this is true is revelatory. I highly recommend my friends read Dr. David McKenas’ book. Anybody who could convince Robert Crandall’s American Airlines to invest in Automatic External Defibrillators and advanced medical kits while stating right up front that there would never be any economic payoff for American deserves a medal, especially if doing so leads to the saving of thousands of lives around the nation and the globe. Yes, Automated External Defibrillators eventually would have become commonplace, as they are today. But, the fact of the matter is that it was Dr. David McKenas’ unusual and intriguing path to his position of influence, his expertise, his passion and his determination to do the right thing (even if it didn’t earn American a dime) that changed the world for the better. This book tells his fascinating story in an engaging way.
Darryl JenkinsChairman of the American Aviation Institute and author of Drone Economics and the Handbook of Airline Economics
This book brought back all of the pride and enthusiasm we all experienced during this time in American Airline's history. Dr. Dave was such a trailblazer in aviation and I was truly honored to work alongside him and his medical team. This book also illustrates the critical role of flight attendants in aviation safety. Kudos Dr. Dave!
Kathy Lord-JonesFormer Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) National Safety Coordinator and retired AA Flight Attendant
American Airlines Defibrillators Continue To Save Lives
8 Nov, 2001
FORT WORTH, Texas – More than 20 people are alive today thanks to defibrillators installed on American Airlines aircraft. The latest “save” came on Oct. 31 at a boarding gate in Chicago. “These devices have proven invaluable in saving lives,” said Dr. David McKenas, American’s corporate medical director. “Passengers can travel with an added level of comfort knowing that every American and American Eagle aircraft has a defibrillator and flight attendants trained to use them.”