Update on Tourist Death on Expedition Everest

In an update to yesterday’s tragic story, The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the 44-year old man apparently suffered a heart attack while on the Expedition Everest roller coaster attraction. It’s not clear if a portable heart defibrillators or AED would have helped the victim, however, the article points out that no device was available at the scene. This despite the recent roll out of additional defibrillators after Disney announced that AEDs had saved over 60 lives at its parks and cruise lines. Apparently there were just two defibrillators in the park. The paramedics who arrived on scene brought one of their own.

[the] death is not the first associated with an apparent heart attack at a Disney theme-park location lacking a defibrillator since the company began its program. In 2005, a 4-year-old boy with an undetected heart disease died of a heart attack after riding the Mission: Space ride at Epcot. The family sued, and one of the allegations was that Disney had not placed a defibrillator near enough to that ride. Disney and the family eventually settled the lawsuit for undisclosed terms.

I debated posting this angle of the story until I read that paragraph and remembered the 2005 incident. As I am unaware of any global shortage of AEDs, I think that one year is enough time for Disney to make sure there are defibrillators and other specialized equipment located near all ‘E-ticket’ attractions or any attraction that has a heart condition warning on it. Again, there is probably no way to know if it would have made a difference in this case, but in the future, it would be nice to have the opportunity to try.

Expedition Everest re-opened with the park this morning. This is the fourth attraction related death in 2007 at the Walt Disney World theme parks. (Link)

Previously: Another Sad Death at Disney on Expedition Everest Coaster.

6 thoughts on “Update on Tourist Death on Expedition Everest”

  1. Following on from my previous comments on the initial story.

    Whilst do sympathise with all the families concerned, is there not an issue here with rolling out defibrillator machines, the issue is with using them safely and effectively.

    Your average Cast Member is not a paramedic, they are not trained to the level where the decision to use a defibrillator is applicable. Passing many hundreds of volts across the chest of presumed victim of a cardiac arrest can be potentially fatal to a healthy subject as an infarction.

    “ I think that one year is enough time for Disney to make sure there are defibrillators and other specialized equipment located near all ‘E-ticket’ attractions or any attraction that has a heart condition warning on it…it would be nice to have the opportunity to try.”

    The idea of an untrained Cast Member ‘trying” to save a life is to me equally as horrifying as the thought of loosing a loved one. Short of having an EMT on all rides there is little that can realistically be done to save the life of those who are either unaware of a heart condition or those who chose to ignore the potential risks, knowing they have such a condition.

    To take this idea to its logical condition would there be a Cast Member with an Epi-Pen standing by each food and beverage outlet to foil a potential anaphylactic shock from coming into contact with a peanut?

  2. this guy had a SERIOUS, pre-existing, KNOWN heart condition. despite all warnings, he went on the ride anyway. because the cause of his disease is unknown, it is not likely defibs would have helped him.

  3. The AED machines analyze the patient’s heart rate and will not shock unless it has entered a state where shocking could help.

    They are designed to be used with minimal training. I trained on the ones in our office and it took a couple of hours in conjunction with a CPR class.

    The AED machines have the added benefit of timing and analyzing CPR efforts whether or not it determines that shocking is necessary.

  4. Well… this is sad but it has to be expected at a place that attracts over 100,000 people each day.

    It’s hard for a person to admit they are too old or not healthy enough to enjoy a roller coaster. I’m 46 and I fear the day that I will no longer be able to ride a ride with my children.

    I’m not saying Disney is to blame, because they are not, but maybe AEDs will become standard equipment are every intense ride.

  5. It’s also very easy to tell that the attraction was working just fine, because there were hundreds of other people riding it around the same time, and they were all fine. Yet, the attraction gets shut down for the rest of the day or a couple of days.

    I feel for this guy’s family, but have you ever seen a street shut down for the rest of the day because someone died of a heart attack on a car that was parked on that street?

    The news media also makes too big of a deal about this, when it should be a private grieving moment for the family.

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