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Widow claims airline treated fatally ill husband as unruly

April 24, 2015 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Airline crew treated a severely ill passenger who had suffered a seizure as though he were just creating a disturbance and disruption – according to his widow, a former flight attendant.

Kelly Ilczyszyn says that when her late husband Richard Ilczyszyn, 46, a financial trader, suffered a pulmonary embolism, crew failed to provide adequate medical attention. The airline concerned is Southwest – and that’s also the airline Kelly Ilczyszyn worked for as a flight attendant.

Richard Ilczyszyn collapsed moaning and crying in one of the aircraft toilets and was dead within 24 hours. His widow has filed a wrongful death suit in Alameda County Superior Court, saying the airline treated her dying husband as if he were an unruly passenger causing a disturbance, the Los Angeles reported.

Pulmonary embolism is a blockage of the main artery of the lung, or one of its branches, by a substance (often a blood clot) that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream. The condition most commonly results from deep vein thrombosis (sometimes associated with restricted movement during long-haul air travel) in which a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs or pelvis breaks off and migrates to the lung, a process termed venous thromboembolism.

“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,” Kelly Ilczyszyn told CBS.

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said its crew “attempted to reach the customer in an effort to provide assistance”. The Dallas-based airline said it responded “appropriately and professionally” to the “unfortunate medical event”.

Richard Ilczyszyn, a financial trader and contributor to CNBC’s ‘Futures Now’ show, died 17 hours after being removed from the flight from Oakland International Airport to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, the LA Times reported.

The lawsuit seeks financial damages for Kelly and her three children but does not list a specific amount.

The plane continued to John Wayne Airport, where other passengers were removed before sheriff’s deputies were called by the flight crew to deal with a passenger who had “barricaded himself in the bathroom,” according to the suit.

The New York Daily News has reported that a phone call was placed by the airline to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in California.

“Apparently there’s a passenger in – locked himself in the lav and is screaming and yelling,” a woman is said to have told the police dispatcher in a recording.

The lawsuit suggests that Richard Ilczyszyn could have survived if the flight crew had provided immediate medical attention.

Kelly Ilczyszyn, who worked as a Southwest Airlines flight attendant for 16 years, says she feels “let down by my work family” who “dropped the ball”.

Written by : Peter Needham

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