Family sues airline after it 'lets passenger die' on board flight

Ruth Doherty

A family is suing Emirates after revealing shocking details of their mother's death on a flight.

Carol Wilson, 70, suffered a heart attack while flying from Dubai back to her home in Houston, US, with her son Shawn Carriker - who claims the crew did nothing to help save her.

Her family alleges that the flight crew failed to provide adequate medical assistance in the crucial moments following Carol's heart attack.

'Emirates Airlines really let my mother die on that flight,' said daughter Tamala White. 'It was horrible.'

Mrs White said that her mother had visited the toilet shortly before the plane's landing but failed to return. A flight attendant called Mr Carriker over to knock on the door, but there was no response.

'When they opened the door they found my mother slumped over and unconscious with her eyes rolled to the back of her head,' Mrs White said.

'Her pants were pulled down. My brother had to dress my mother. She was gasping for air.'

Mr Carriker attempted to move his mother out of the bathroom but struggled as she was 'dead weight'. He claims the crew did not immediately offer to help him.

Eventually a male flight attendant helped move her onto the floor in the middle of the aisle and handed Mr Carriker an oxygen mask, but allegedly did not assist in putting it on.

The family claims that the crew did not perform CPR, did not announce a medical emergency and that no defibrillators - which the airline states it has on its planes - were brought out.

Still unconscious, the crew moved Carol Wilson to a jump seat and strapped her in for landing.

But, after touching down, the crew allegedly let all the other passenger off the plane first before letting paramedics on board.

'No type of means of life support was used to assist my mother. They just let her die,' Mrs White said.

'By the time we landed – and they let the people off the plane first and then they let paramedics on the plane – it was too late.'

Mrs White, who was waiting in the terminal to meet the flight, said she was receiving frantic calls from her brother saying 'she's not breathing, what should I do?'.

She said that Emirates staff wouldn't tell her what was going on, instead handing her a phone number. Frantic, she approached police officers for help.

Meanwhile paramedics had performed CPR and Ms Wilson was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Lawyer Kerry Guidry has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family at US District Court in Texas, with a court date set for 19 September.

'There's policies and procedures in place when a medical emergency arises and Emirates failed to follow those policies and procedures and that contributed to Carol's death,' Mr Guidry said.

'She suffered cardiac arrest. The first seven to 10 minutes are critical in cardiac arrest, and they (Emirates) did nothing, and that's what we believe led to her death.'

Carol had no previous existing medical problems.

Mrs White said that the airline has not contacted the family to offer remorse or sympathy.

Emirates denies the allegations and says that the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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