Lewis and Roseanne Christman are suing United after crew apparently refused to make an emergency landing in order for Mr. Christman to receive medical treatment for an attack of acute pancreatitis. The Christmans accuse United of negligence and United says that it is looking into the matter.
A United Airlines passenger who took ill during a Rome-bound flight is bringing legal action against the carrier after crew allegedly refused to conduct an emergency landing in order for him to receive treatment, Bloomberg reports.
During the May 2016 incident, the outlet reports that passenger Lewis Christman, who suffered an attack of acute pancreatitis while flying from Chicago to Rome, was forced to endure severe pain and nausea for the entirety of the flight. Christman, who was traveling to Italy with his wife, Roseanne, was in considerable discomfort during the trans-Atlantic journey, the outlet reports. He was eventually given a business class seat, but spent the rest of the flight “in agony.”
As reported by the outlet, Christman alleges that the carrier failed to offer him immediate medical assistance, “and declined a recommendation from a doctor on board that they divert the flight.” Christman also alleges that crew members did not alert medical staff on the ground to the severity of his illness, something that he believes had a negative impact on his condition as it delayed necessary medical treatment.
According to court documents, Christman received hospital treatment upon landing in Rome and then returned to the U.S. via an air ambulance in June 2016. He was hospitalized for three months in Chicago and had to undergo both gallbladder and gastric surgery as a result of his condition.
The outlet reports that, “The couple, who are alleging negligence and loss of consortium, are seeking at least $100,000 in damages.”
Commenting on the case, David Axelrod, the couple’s legal representative, said, “When there is an emergency situation with someone who was as sick as Mr. Christman was, United Airlines has an obligation to land the plane, and get him to the emergency room as quickly as possible.”
United spokesperson Erin Benson Scharra, commented only to say, “We are aware of the suit and are looking into the matter.”