A 24-year-old Florida woman has sued Southwest Airlines after a wheelchair accident changed her life forever. The plaintiff in the case suffered from a pre-existing muscular disease and asked for a wheelchair and assistance getting from the terminal down the jetway to the aircraft.
While the wheelchair was provided, the plaintiff says that the request for assistance getting down the jetway was refused by a supervisor working for the airline. Forced to maneuver the wheelchair on her own, she lost control and was subsequently “caused to be thrown from the wheelchair, thereby sustaining catastrophic/life-altering personal injuries,” according to the lawsuit.
The crash caused her to fall on her head, crack vertebrae in her back, and suffer injuries to her spinal cord. After regaining consciousness after the incident, she went into cardiac arrest. Although she was revived, a tube had to be placed down her throat and has not yet been removed.
The family created a GoFundMe campaign for the woman and has described the incredibly difficult way of life the woman must now endure since that day. “She can’t speak because she has a tube down her throat, and she has no movement below her neck,” according to the page. “The fear and pain she is showing in her eyes when she wakes up in those brief moments of clarity is too much to bear.”
The lawsuit seeks damages and compensation for lifelong ongoing medical care from Southwest as well as G2 Secure Staff; the company that provides wheelchair escort services at the Fort Lauderdale airport where the incident occurred. Southwest has said in a statement that the airline has “reviewed the customer’s initial account of her travel experience and [has] offered a response directly to those involved.”