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Pilot 'refused heart attack passenger's plea to land'

Travel Bite staff
Monday, April 18, 2011
BBC journalist Max Pearson.

An award-winning BBC journalist who suffered a heart attack on board a Singapore Airlines flight may sue the airline after it refused to make an emergency landing.

Max Pearson, 51, has reportedly been left with long term heart damage after being forced to endure a 14-hour flight in cardiac arrest.

His requests for the plane to divert to the nearest hospital were denied, the Daily Mail reports.

The BBC World Service radio journalist was returning to London from Tokyo after spending a week in Japan reporting on the tsunami.

He boarded a connecting flight in Singapore which landed in London on March 18.

But soon after the plane took off, Mr Pearson was struck by a heart attack.

It is claimed cabin crew refused requests to re-route the plane so he could received urgent medical attention, the Daily Mail reports.

The married father-of-two was rushed by ambulance to hospital as soon as the plane touched down at Heathrow Airport and underwent life-saving emergency surgery.

He was kept in hospital to recover for almost a week and has been off work for the past month.

Mr Pearson told the Daily Mail : "I don't want to talk about it yet. It's a very delicate situation."

A BBC source said it appeared Mr Pearson had been attended to by a doctor who happened to be a passenger on the flight.

"He says he asked for them to redirect him to hospital but it didn't happen. After that it was touch-and-go whether he was going to make the 14-hour flight, but amazingly he did," the source told the Daily Mail.

"Max is still very poorly and is considering taking legal action against Singapore Airlines."

A spokesman for the airline refused to comment.

User comments
Mum flew out of Singapore a few months ago, flight was delayed an hour trying to get a sick child off the plane for medical attention where the child's parents kept refusing. I don't think this article is the full story as surely with all the variables taken into account, the airline would have returned to Singapore, judging by their safety policies. Obviously not life threatening either as he survived the insanely long flight... he was probably just uncomfortable the whole flight and not happy that he didn't get his way.
you're all idiots. how 'is the matter pre-existing' relevant? what is more important, not being delayed for your destination or a persons life? you make me sick.
Poor reporting. Was the condition pre-existing? How many other passengers had schedules to keep that would result in their suing the airline if their arrival was delayed? If it really was a heart attack he would not have survived the flight. This sensationilistic reporting whips up the simple-minded for no good reason.
If a patient is seen too by medical personell within 2 hours of a heart attack or stroke the damage resulting from this cause can be severely lessened. It doesn't matter who the passenger was on this flight, the pilot should have touched down at the nearest airport so that he could have received attention. If this had been a leading dignitary I am certain that he would have immediately had permission from the money hungry "Singapore Airlines" to land. Lesson! Don't fly Singapore Airlines.
If you were travelling by ship or train you would expect to the service to stop at the next port or station, in fact it is policy for the majority of those services. Those of you who wrote implying that he made a big deal over nothing, would you have written the same thing if he was not a reporter, or if he had died? And TJ, my understanding is that cardiac arrest is the term used to describe an event causing disruption of the heart rhythm, so if his heart beat wasn't stable for the 14hrs after his heart attack then it can be called cardiac arrest.
This is another example of the media rubbish creating a storm out of nothing . There is a lot of more important things to write about rather than writing about their life story and writing things that cause trouble and create hatered , as long as people buy and read to create profit for their business. I got heart attack in a cruise ship and they throw me into the sea to do some exercise......need that. May be his stories from Japan was not sold enough
once again the media gets it half right. what is airline policy in this situation? who ultimatley has to make the call in this situation? did the pilot get advice from someone on the ground? was the heart condition pre existing and was the heart attack sufferer know the risks involved with air travel and heart conditions. a bit more research and objectivity makes for good journalism, this is average at best.
I'm training to be a pilot at the moment and as far as I have been told so far this situation should have been dealt with by a Mayday call, or even a Pan-Pan with intentions to divert. If a life is at risk it comes down to the captain to make the decision, Bad call as far as I'm concerned.
Their you go "profits before people".. But no one says enough is enough! They the airlines are to big to care, and so much red tape that they have created, to shield themselves from any backlash. Look at it Singapore is a country built on money. Its all about the "bottom line" nothing else matters. Thats why the earth is such a bloody MESS!!! as it is all about the almighty dollar. (cause and effect)
Yes, Sue this airline for millions. They deserve the strongest condemnation. This is an unaccepteble behaviour. the pilot should have turned the airplane back to Sngapore immediately. Utterly callous. While they make millions out of passengers' money,they hace scant resepect for a very very sick person. Disgusting. Sue them !!!!!

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