Southwest Airlines recently found itself facing a wrongful death lawsuit over its alleged inaction in dealing with a medical emergency during a flight. The lawsuit, filed by the surviving spouse, alleges that airline personnel failed to recognize a medical emergency that occurred during a California flight last fall and didn’t offer any help to a dying passenger. The suit claims man began having serious medical complications while on a flight from Oakland to Orange County, California. A story in The Houston Chronicle details the alleged events on the Southwest Airlines flight and the resulting wrongful death lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the male passenger quickly ran to the bathroom just a few minutes before the plane landed. After crewmembers heard him crying out in pain, they allegedly opened the door but decided that the man was simply an unruly passenger causing a disruption. They did not make any calls for medical assistance, according to the suit, or offer any other help.
After the plane landed, law enforcement agents arrived at the plane and removed all of the passengers believing that the man had barricaded himself inside the plane’s bathroom. Authorities then found the man unconscious in the bathroom. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died the next day. It is reported that the 46 year old man had suffered a blood clot. The clot may have caused his brain to be deprived of oxygen for roughly 30 minutes.
Southwest has replied to the suit by denying responsibility on behalf of the flight crew. The company claims that its flight attendants acted “appropriately and professionally.” Meanwhile, the man’s wife attributes the death of her husband on the improper decision making of the flight crew who did not call for medical help and, instead treated her dying husband as an unruly passenger.
Southwest Airlines has stated that the company is very saddened that the death had occurred, but confidently believes that the flight crew did everything it its power to handle the situation properly. The company claims that the crew was instrumental in getting first responders on the scene and that they had tried to provide assistance while he was in the restroom.
With hundreds of millions of people flying throughout the U.S. each year, in flight medical emergencies are bound to happen. What, if any, assistance should a passenger experiencing a medical emergency expect to receive on a plane? What expectation should there be to communicate to the ground about a medical emergency and call for immediate assistance upon landing?
When injuries or a death are preventable and occur as a result of negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a lawsuit. Determining whether there has been negligence in a situation like this can be a complex task. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your potential case and whether it makes sense to file a wrongful death lawsuit or other personal injury lawsuit. Contact a wrongful death attorney at Lopez McHugh to discuss your potential claim. The Lopez McHugh attorneys offer free case evaluations at (877) 737-8525. You may also complete an online contact form any time of day.