Southwest Airlines Sued Over Death Of Passenger

The widow of a California man who died hours after experiencing a medical emergency onboard a Southwest Airlines flight last year filed a lawsuit against the airline claiming the crew members failed to provide adequate medical attention after the man collapsed in the plane’s lavatory.

CBS News reports [warning: link includes video that autoplays] that the 46-year-old man’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the airline alleging that had he been given proper medical care he may have lived after suffering a pulmonary embolism on the September 16 flight from Oakland International Airport to John Wayne Airport.

According to the lawsuit – which seeks financial damages – the man collapsed in the bathroom about 10 minutes before the plane was scheduled to land. When members of the crew opened the lavatory door, they found the man “in distress while crying and moaning.”

“One flight attendant said she opened the door and she saw the top of my husband’s head and his head was down and he was just whimpering, and [she] left him there,” the man’s widow, who had previously worked for the airline, told CBS News.

Instead of providing medical care, the family claims the crew treated the situation as if the man were a disruptive passenger.

When the plane landed at the Orange County, CA, airport, the suit claims that other passengers were removed before sheriff’s deputies were called to address the situation.

“Apparently there’s a passenger in — locked himself in the lav and is screaming and yelling,” a transcript of the call to authorities states, CBS News reports.

When deputies opened the door they found the man unresponsive and called for medical help. After being taken off the plane the man was transported to a nearby hospital where he died 17 hours later.

“Our experts say these flight attendants and the crew, the captain, did not act reasonably based on the information that was before them,” the family’s attorney says.

Southwest Airlines says in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that it responded “appropriately and professionally” to the situation and that crew members “attempted to reach the customer in an effort to provide assistance.”

The California lawsuit marks the second time in this month that an airline has faced a lawsuit regarding inadequate care during a medical emergency. Earlier this month, a widow sued Spirit Airlines and two flight attendants claiming the airline was negligent in its training of staff during medical crises.

Widow says Southwest crew “left” husband to die [CBS News]
Southwest Airlines sued over death of financial trader [The Los Angeles Times]