Holland America Passenger Who Waited 15 Hours For Medical Treatment After Stroke, Files Lawsuit

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Lila “Lisette” Kohn Gale, a 65 year old Highland Park, Illinois resident has filed a federal lawsuit against Holland America Cruise Line, claiming negligence and incompetence on the part of the cruise line.

Gales was traveling from Fort Lauderdale to the Panama Canal in March of 2018 when she lost consciousness during dinner. An onboard medical team found Mrs. Gale confused, drowsy and with slurred speech. After being taken to the ship’s medical center, she was diagnosed with a severe stroke. According to the suit that was filed, the doctor wrote that a CAT scan was required and that she should be seen immediately by a neurosurgeon or neurologist. Additionally, it was noted that her condition was deteriorating.

Ordinarily, cruise ship officials, once determining the severity of a stroke, will communicate with the U.S. Coast Guard or other state officials to request an immediate medical evaluation from the ship and transport to the closest medical facility that could reliably handle the emergency.

Apparently this was not the case from Mrs. Gale. She was put onto a tugboat for an hour long boat ride to a hospital in Freeport, Bahamas. Because the hospital lacked the appropriate equipment and specialists, her emergency could not be addressed.

Doctors at the Bahamian hospital tried to arrange air transport to the United States, but the local airport was closed. Gale would have to was 12 more hours before arriving at the Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

All total, Gale suffered 15 hours after the stroke without appropriate care. The minutes and hours after a stroke occurs are critical for the patient. The time Gale waited, led to an increasingly worsened scenario according to her lawsuit.

Because of the stroke, Gale spent weeks in a coma and has been left with paralysis. She requires constant care.

According to a quote in a Highland Park, IL Patch.com article, her husband, John Gale, stated, “They had a duty to tend to her, and by not doing so, they added to her damage.”

“There’s this boat with 1,700 people on it — all over the age of 65 — and they don’t have a CAT scan machine? They don’t have any evacuation procedures in place? They don’t monitor whether the nearest airports are open?” Gale asked. “What the hell’s wrong with you guys?”

Medical Negligence on Holland America Cruise Ships

Unfortunately, strokes can go untreated or be mistreated by medical staff on the cruise ship. The result for victims is increased symptoms, unnecessary pain and frustration, missed time at work, extensive medical bills and insurance complications.

If you had a medical emergency or became ill on a cruise ship – or your existing illness was not handled correctly by medical staff, you may have a claim against the cruise lines.

For more information, please contact the cruise ship personal injury attorneys at Waks and Barnett, P.A.