Posted on 11/11/2007

November 11, 2007­–LONDON–A Member of Parliament (MP) who almost died on a plane is demanding new laws to force airlines to carry life-saving equipment. Liberal Democrat Paul Keetch was technically dead for seven minutes after having suffering cardiac arrest on a flight from London to a NATO meeting in the States.

The cabin crew on the Virgin Atlantic flight saved his life by using a £1,000 defibrillator to restart his heart. Keetch, 46, is now spearheading moves to force all airlines to carry the machines and train staff to use them.

“When I collapsed with chest pains a Brazilian medic on the plane tried heart massage. But it was the cabin crew’s use of a defibrillator that saved my life. I was technically dead for seven minutes,” he said. “These machines (automated external defibrillators or AEDs) should be installed on all aircraft and staff given the training to use them.”

Keetch plans to apply for a Private Member’s Bill at Westminster that allows MPs to introduce new laws. He will also be urging the EU to back his proposals. He has written to Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson to thank his staff for their lifesaving actions in July.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began to require AEDs on U.S. airlines with at least one flight attendant in 1998. The ruling was based in part on the experience of American Airlines which celebrated its 76th save earlier this year.

Source: Vincent Moss, Sunday Mirror, UK