Man sues Hawaii, saying the false missile alert caused his heart attack

A man and his girlfriend sued the state of Hawaii, saying the false missile alert debacle earlier this year ...

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 5:31 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2018 5:31 PM

A man and his girlfriend sued the state of Hawaii, saying the false missile alert debacle earlier this year caused him to have a heart attack.

James Sean Shields and Brenda Reichel filed the suit Tuesday. In addition to the state, Vern Miyagi, former head of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, is named as a defendant.

Cardiovascular disease

Continents and regions

Diseases and disorders

Hawaii

Health and medical

Heart disease

North America

The Americas

United States

Law and legal system

Lawsuits and claims

Military

Military weapons

Trial and procedure

Weapons and arms

Shields and Reichel say they were driving to the beach on January 13 when they received alerts on their cell phones that a missile was headed toward Hawaii and that they needed to find shelter.

"Both plaintiffs believed this message to be true and were extremely frightened and thought they were shortly going to die," the lawsuit reads. "They decided that there was not much they could do to protect themselves from this threat and decided that if they were going to die, they might as well die together on the beach."

Reichel then got a call from her son, who serves in the Hawaii Army National Guard. He told her the threat was real, heightening their fears even more.

Minutes later, they arrived at the beach and began calling loved ones, saying their goodbyes. Right after Shields called his son and daughter who live on the US mainland, he said he started to feel "a severe and painful burning" in his chest.

He went to a hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest. A doctor performed CPR, and Shields then underwent emergency surgery.

The damage to Shields' heart since the heart attack has been confirmed by several tests, the lawsuit says.

First a scare, then a heart attack

A California doctor pinned the blame for the medical emergency squarely on the false missile alert.

"In my opinion, the warning there was an imminent missile attack about to hit Hawaii was a substantial contributing factor in causing the heart attack and cardiac arrest," John S. MacGregor, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the San Francisco School of Medicine, said in the lawsuit. "Mr. Shields had no known cardiac disease. Within 15 minutes of learning of the impending missile attack, Mr. Shields had developed symptoms of an acute myocardial infraction. Shortly after that, he experienced a cardiac arrest."

By the time Shields and Reichel had reached the hospital, the state had already sent out a second message to phones in Hawaii 38 minutes after the initial alert saying it was a false alarm. But the couple didn't see it, the lawsuit says, because they were too busy dealing with Shields' heath emergency.

The Hawaii attorney general's office is reviewing the lawsuit, said special assistant Krishna F. Jayaram.

The false missile alert caused a mass panic in Hawaii back in January, during a time of heightened rhetoric between the US and North Korea. The alert was sent out during an emergency drill by a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency worker who mistakenly thought the drill was the real thing.

An internal investigation found "that insufficient management controls, poor computer software design and human factors contributed" to the alert and the delayed correction message.

Miyagi later resigned, and the probe into the debacle produced two dozen recommendations, including eliminating practice drills during a shift change, stronger confirmation prompts for those sending an alert and improved training.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36303

Reported Deaths: 1476
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin11796776
Ramsey4685217
Stearns226519
Dakota218087
Anoka2097107
Nobles16526
Olmsted104715
Washington100840
Mower9212
Rice8097
Scott6584
Kandiyohi5651
Clay56337
Wright4455
Blue Earth4032
Todd3982
Carver3401
Lyon2952
Sherburne2954
Freeborn2810
Steele2150
Benton2083
Watonwan2030
St. Louis16114
Martin1565
Nicollet14412
Cottonwood1330
Goodhue1198
Winona11915
Crow Wing10212
Pine1000
Chisago931
Otter Tail921
Unassigned8335
Le Sueur821
Carlton810
Dodge810
McLeod810
Polk792
Chippewa751
Itasca6512
Douglas610
Isanti610
Meeker581
Morrison581
Waseca570
Becker540
Jackson540
Faribault530
Murray510
Pennington500
Sibley482
Mille Lacs322
Wabasha310
Brown302
Rock300
Yellow Medicine290
Beltrami270
Fillmore250
Pipestone251
Houston240
Renville242
Norman200
Swift201
Wilkin203
Redwood160
Wadena150
Aitkin140
Big Stone140
Kanabec141
Cass132
Koochiching131
Marshall120
Pope100
Lincoln80
Clearwater70
Lake70
Mahnomen71
Grant60
Roseau60
Hubbard50
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 28991

Reported Deaths: 715
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6037177
Woodbury316544
Black Hawk209557
Buena Vista169511
Linn120382
Dallas117529
Johnson11458
Marshall101218
Wapello70030
Story6943
Pottawattamie69211
Crawford6662
Scott63110
Muscatine61544
Dubuque51222
Sioux4550
Tama44529
Wright3700
Louisa36013
Jasper31717
Plymouth3004
Warren2452
Dickinson2412
Washington2259
Hamilton1851
Webster1612
Boone1361
Clarke1252
Allamakee1244
Clay1210
Mahaska11517
Shelby1060
Poweshiek1048
Cerro Gordo991
Clinton951
Bremer876
Des Moines843
Carroll821
Henry823
Taylor780
Cedar751
Emmet750
Franklin750
Pocahontas751
Cherokee720
Monona700
Marion660
Floyd652
Guthrie644
Hardin630
Sac630
Benton581
Jones540
Jefferson530
Osceola510
Harrison500
Monroe506
Humboldt481
Lee482
Hancock470
Iowa470
Buchanan451
Butler452
Calhoun442
Delaware411
Clayton393
Lyon390
Davis371
Madison372
Mills340
Fayette330
Grundy330
Kossuth320
Palo Alto310
Lucas304
Winneshiek290
Greene280
Chickasaw250
Union250
Jackson240
Winnebago240
Mitchell230
Howard220
Ida220
Appanoose203
Page200
Keokuk191
Van Buren190
Audubon171
Cass170
Adair150
Ringgold140
Worth140
Decatur100
Montgomery102
Adams80
Wayne80
Fremont70
Unassigned30
Rochester
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
Mason City
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Albert Lea
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Austin
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Charles City
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
HOT AND HUMID
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

The miraculous catch

Image

New Swine Flu

Image

Charles City athlete is taunted with racial comments

Image

RPD Policy Listening Session

Image

Covid-19 4th of July Plans

Image

Will racism be declared a public health crisis in Olmsted County?

Image

Helping the homeless in Rochester

Image

Sean's 4PM Weather 7/1

Image

New Trade Deal In Effect

Image

Senator Klobuchar Tackles Hunger in Minnesota

Community Events