Man plans on suing airline for mom's injury - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Man plans on suing airline for mom's injury

by Nick Delgado

Guam - One family had quite the scare while on board a plane returning home from the Philippines. While the family plans to file a lawsuit against Continental Airlines, the company contends that it did follow proper procedures during the incident.     

"When you land, you need medical attention right away; you cannot prolong it because every second, every minute counts," Tom Tajalle told KUAM News.  It was only an hour into an early morning flight on the way back from Manila, and after some turbulence that Tajalle was informed his 73-year-old mother was injured and on the ground at the rear of the aircraft. Tajalle says they had to wait out the remainder of the flight to get help.

But he says things only got worse when they arrived at the airport, recalling, "The airport firefighters said, 'I wish I could help you, but I can't because there's possibility that your mom does have broken bones, her neck and so forth', which is the case."

Tajalle says it was then a lot of finger-pointing between the officials on board. He says Airport Fire Department officials said they were no longer certified to do provide care, Continental had no training, and Guam Fire Department officials were waiting outside the aircraft because they had to sign a liability waiver.

"It got to a point where it was quiet in the aircraft and I said, 'If someone was to have a heart attack right now, are your guys just going to say I'm not responsible, you're responsible'?, they were all pointing to the different - no firefighter, you're responsible, no Continental you're responsible.  No one wanted to take action," he said.

However, in a statement from Continental Micronesia President Charles Duncan, they do not require a waiver for emergency officials to enter the plane. Duncan added, "Continental flight attendants are trained in first aid in accordance with FAA requirements, but we rely on emergency responders to assist when we are on the ground."

But after over an hour of having his mother wait to be taken to the hospital for fractured ribs and neck pain, Tajalle says he is working to file a lawsuit against the airline, as he says he just wants to prevent this incident from happening again.  "I don't believe Continental is sensitive to the issue," he proposed.  "We have not gotten a follow-up phone call from anyone at least to say 'We apologize for what you had gone through or how is your mother doing?'. Nothing."

He also said, "I've talked to legal counsel and we will be meeting, and my intent with pushing through with this is so it does not happen with the next passenger."

The Guam International Airport also responded that the incident is of paramount concern, and discussions with the airlines and GFD, and all protocols are being scheduled to ensure that efficiency and effectiveness of collective response in these types of situations run smoothly in the future.

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