Southwest Airlines flight attendants claimed that loose COVID protocols during mandatory training last summer and loose contact tracing after attendees tested positive led to her husband’s virus death. I filed an illegal death lawsuit against.
Carol Madden, a 69-year-old Baltimore-based flight attendant who has been working for Southwest Airlines since 2016, said the case was an airline’s negligence, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court. We are seeking damages of more than $ 3 million. Maryland.
She and her husband, a veteran retired rail signal engineer, Bill returned home from a one-day training session at Baltimore Washington International Airport in July, but fell ill a few days after training. Finally, the COVID-19 test was positive. Bill’s oxygen levels plummeted, his health deteriorated rapidly, and he was unable to measure his temperature. He died a few weeks later at a hospital in York, PA, and COVID pneumonia was cited as the first cause of death. He was 73 years old.
Madden, a cancer survivor who has been working all the time Pandemic“I’m sure my husband is still here,” she told USA TODAY when Southwest Airlines applied the same rigorous safety protocols as passengers to its employees. It coined the latter term, Southwest Promise..
“They were cleaning the seats. They were cleaning the vents. They were cleaning the seat belts. All the touchpoints were cleaned,” she said in an interview on Tuesday. “They didn’t do that in my training last year.”
“I love my airline, but they didn’t love me.”
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Southwest Airlines has petitioned to dismiss the proceedings on Friday. In the filing, the airline expressed sympathy for Madden and others who lost their families on COVID-19, but said it was “misplaced” to blame the airline for his death.
Airlines need to provide their employees with a “reasonably safe work environment,” but the responsibility for “duty of care” lies with the spouse and others in the household, even if the illness is transmitted at work. He said it was not as good as that. The company also said there was no way to know exactly when and where it was infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“The allegations alleged in the complaint reflect a natural emotional response to catastrophic personal loss, but are not feasible under the law,” the airline said.
Madden’s lawyer, Dan Mastromarco of the Mastromarco office, said he was preparing a legal response.
From dream work to broken heart
Madden became a Southwest flight attendant at the age of 64 after several other careers, including real estate and paralegal services.
“I wore seven hats in my life,” she said. “This was my dream.”
Originally from New York, she said her husband had retired, took care of everything at home, and made a round trip to and from the airport, allowing her to pursue her dreams. The pair met when she was 12 and he was 17, and married for 35 years.
“He was a phenomenal man. He had a golden heart,” she said. “There is nothing that can replace him, no one.”
Southwest flight attendant training: Masks, but few other COVID safeguards, the proceedings say
The Federal Aviation Administration requires regular training of flight attendants, and Madden said he first registered in April 2020. Moved in mid-July due to a pandemic.
According to the proceedings, flight attendants and instructors in the Southwest were not screened for COVID symptoms or asked about COVID exposure before or during all-day training.
A mask was needed, but no hand sanitizer was supplied, and equipment from the fire extinguisher to the megaphone was not disinfected between uses, the proceedings said.
The human-sized dummies used in self-defense training were also not wiped out, despite the “extensive physical contact” of the flight attendants. Dummy name: Bob.
“Southwest Airlines failed to disinfect Bob and other equipment used during this skill training,” the proceedings said.
The social distance was sparse, Madden said.
“We were at a 6-foot table, at a folding table with legs,” she said. “You are not 6 feet apart. Probably less than 4 feet.”
According to the proceedings, everything would have reduced the chances of COVID infection.
In a statement, Southwest Airlines spokesman Brad Hawkins expressed sympathy for Madden, saying that the well-being of Southwest employees and customers has been an “uncompromising priority” since the pandemic began. Stated.
In a statement, Hawkins said, “Southwest Airlines has taken enhanced steps to clean and maintain aircraft, airports and workplaces and complies with all notification guidelines in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are. ” Every day, a multi-layered approach to supporting employee and customer safety is kept up to date with findings and public health recommendations. Southwest Airlines will continue its dedicated efforts to support people and the community, working together to delay the spread of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic. “
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On July 23, the day after returning from training, Madden called Southwest and told her and her husband that she and her husband were suffering from COVID symptoms and could not go on their next trip. She and her husband underwent a COVID test that day, but due to the backlog the results were not expected for the last few days.
“They said they wouldn’t pay me or rob me of (attendance) points until I proved I was infected with COVID,” she said.
She said the airline and her union didn’t tell her: a few days after someone in her training group returned home, a few days before Madden reported her symptoms to both parties, and her She was COVID positive long before her husband became seriously ill. ..
The next day, Madden learned about the incident from a group of Facebook flight attendants and was smoking.
“I was overwhelmed when I learned that the woman at the table with me was infected with COVID,” she said.
The proceedings state that Madden could have been isolated from her husband early on if Southwest had immediately informed her about her colleague’s positive test.
The Southwest Network Operations Center did not notify her of positive cases until July 27, 10 days after positive results and 14 days after training.
She recalls the call in this way: “Oh, you were exposed to COVID-19 in class, but you can go, and your quarantine is over, and you can return I can do it.”
She told the manager that it was not a problem to tell her and her husband that she and her husband were still suffering from COVID symptoms.
“They weren’t about us,” she said. “We were consumables.”
Madden took a break for a while after her husband died, but returned to the southwestern flight.
“I had to put my sadness, my loneliness. I had to put it under my uniform,” she said.
This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Southwest Airlines flight attendants sue after husband’s COVID death