Man Denied Defibrillator Over Chest Hair, Says His Widow

Jack Jordan suffered fatal heart attack on Southwest flight

By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 2, 2014 2:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – During a Southwest Airlines flight in April, Caroline Jordan's husband, Jack, had a massive heart attack. A physical therapist and hospice nurse on board quickly gave him CPR, she tells WABC. That's when Jordan noticed a defibrillator nearby ... not being used. When another passenger asked why, a flight attendant allegedly said Jack Jordan's chest was too hairy, Caroline Jordan says. Eventually, her husband's chest was shaved and he was hooked up to the AED, KOAT reports, but he didn't survive.

"I don't expect the airlines or the flight attendants to be nurses or doctors, not anywhere close, but in that kind of a circumstance, one of the first things they should be doing is getting that AED hooked up," Caroline Jordan says. Medical experts tell KOAT that the hairy chest excuse is nonsense; chest hair rarely impedes an AED's effectiveness, and the devices often come equipped with razors to shave hair and scissors to cut clothing. Southwest is looking into the incident. (In a much happier story recently, passengers teamed up to save a heart attack victim on a flight.)

In this Tuesday, July 1, 2014 photo, an emergency defibrillator hangs on the wall at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, July 1, 2014, in Springfield, Ill.
In this Tuesday, July 1, 2014 photo, an emergency defibrillator hangs on the wall at the Illinois State Capitol Tuesday, July 1, 2014, in Springfield, Ill.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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