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Infant Treated at Hospital After Lengthy Ground Delay at DEN During Heatwave

Frankfurt, Germany - July 17, 2014: United Airlines aircraft logo at an aircraft in Frankfurt. United Airlines is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

The baby’s mother says that unsafe temperatures in the cabin while the flight waited to depart during a scorching heatwave on Thursday led to a medical emergency for her small child.

A United Airlines passenger says that a delayed departure onboard her flight at Denver International Airport (DEN) during dangerously hot weather on Thursday put her infant son’s health at risk. Emily France says that her child was eventually evacuated from the aircraft, but only after she and other passengers begged for an ambulance.

“His whole body flashed red and his eyes rolled back in his head and he was screaming,” France told the Denver Post. “And then he went limp in my arms. It was the worst moment of my life.”

Although the 39-year-old mom makes a case that there was an unacceptable 30-minute delay in getting medical treatment for four-month-old Owen, it does seem that the cabin crew did everything they could to make the child comfortable during the two hours passengers reportedly spent onboard the sweltering plane waiting to depart. According to France, flight attendants brought ice to keep the infant cool, allowed mother and child to move to the front of the plane near an open door and even gave the pair special permission to deplane to briefly cool off in the terminal for about twenty minutes.

France told the Post that it wasn’t until the flight left the gate that things became frightening. When a weather delay again kept the plane from taking of for El Paso International Airport (ELP), she knew that the situation was becoming critical.

“We just sat and sat and sat,” France recounted to reporters. “I hit my call button and said, ‘I think it’s getting dangerously hot back here.’”

Young Owen’s mother said that she believes that a debate between the crew and ramp agents about whether to return to the gate or to transport stairs to the aircraft led to the nerve-wracking delay in medical treatment for her son, but she now believes that it shouldn’t have reached that point in the first place.

“If the temperature in the plane gets above a certain level, passengers should be taken off immediately,” she told the newspaper. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures on the ground at DEN exceeded 90 degrees during the time the mother and child waited for takeoff.

At last report, after a short stay at Children’s Hospital Colorado, both mother and child are now back home and resting comfortably as they recover from their aborted trip to see family.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Carpedictum July 9, 2017

If they allow infants on board, it should be safe for infants. What about the elderly? Or people with asthma? These tarmac delays ONLY exist so the airlines can be sloppy with scheduling, pare their airport gate leases to bare bones, and still report high "on time" numbers. Because sitting in an oven a few feet from the airport counts as travel time- not a delayed takeoff or delayed arrival. Redefine takeoff as "wheels up" and arrived as "at gate" and this torturous farce would end. In 2017, it's absurd to say, "If you can't handle sitting in an oven for hours, WHY ARE YOU EVEN ON A PLANE?"

overdahill July 1, 2017

I disagree with my above esteemed flyer. 50 years of flying and multimillion miler on airlines (plural). Watched mistakes that caused fatal issues including may 25 Chicago, Yes newborns should be taken into the air only when mission critical. But....the issue is extreme temperatures and heat stroke, No warning .... it just happens. You become disorientated and do not know you have it. Then take a nap and you may not wake up. This is important!

Fishhooks July 1, 2017

Would someone in authority at UNITED, kindly acknowlege in a public statement that it is now several years since we were able to complete travel into "SPACE" and there is sufficient knowledge here on earth to be able to maintain very safe standards in flying within this planet. A very deep probing investigation needs to be held into standards at UNITED to verify that training standards for staff are at a suitable level for this airline to be able to continue to operate.

overdahill June 30, 2017

Excessive heat on planes has been a serious problem for decades. There is insufficient training to the staff to recognize and act based on heat stroke and similar issues. Actions to be taken: 1) Cold water automatically distributed when cabin temperatures reach a specified level for a predefined period. 2) If no water, plane is evacuated immediately. 3) Medical alert placed with airport staff. 4) Extra water and supplies equipped whenever temperatures are forecast at specified levels. 5) Cabin cooling, and heating is mandatory. Penalty for abused temperatures begins with free flight for all and FAA fine. I witnessed horrible outcomes and this was during the massive heat in Chicago in the 90's. I forced an evacuation of a prop plane and 6 of the passengers were treated for heat stroke, which if untreated is often fatal. I grew up in Miami where heat stroke was common. This is serious business. Please all climb on and raise the awareness and demand action. Based on my complaints forcefully effected through to the airline senior management, he finally took action and had the defective air conditioners repaired. Me

RooseveltL June 30, 2017

I have always been critical of parents flying with infants (unable to articulate their feelings/emotions) as unless relocation - does one really think it wise to expose a child to delays, toxins, germs/viruses, etc. as the infant benenfits zero. Sorry selfish parents is not the airlines problems, I think UAL customer service at times is pooh but this is not one of them.