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View Full Version : Man sues airline for not looking at his scrotum


rdowns
Mar 12, 2010, 01:24 PM
I'm kind of missing edesignuk's penis stories. :eek:

Link (http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/03/05/13132421-qmi.html)


ONTREAL - A Westmount resident's lawsuit against Air Transat, for failure to provide him with appropriated medical attention during a flight, was dismissed in small claims court this past Tuesday.

His illness? Sudden and mysterious bleeding in the area between his legs.

The curious incident occurred February 15, 2008 during a flight from Montreal to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Marcel Cote was comfortably seated in business class an hour after takeoff when, for some unknown reason, he felt enough discomfort to make an emergency visit to the washroom, where he discovered spots of blood on his body.

In a panic, Cote asked for the help of a flight attendant, who quickly came to his side. When the passenger noticed that the agent was female, he asked to be assisted by a male attendant because the bleeding seemed to be coming from his genital area.

When the male attendant came to him, Cote then asked to be closely examined so that the exact nature of the problem can be determined. The employee declined, giving him absorbent paper instead.

Indignant and distressed, Cote quickly expressed his wish to see a doctor.

Before supplying him with sanitary towels, the members of the flight crew told him they would contact a physician if the illness was grave enough. On arriving in Puerto Vallarta three hours later, Mr. Cote met with a travel agent he knew and she took him to the hospital in a taxi. He was examined by a doctor who determined Cote had a ruptured vein near his scrotum. Three stitches were needed to close the wound.

What started off as a dream trip to a Southern paradise with his wife, in the end turned into a nightmare Cote said, claiming the incident ruined his vacation and has made him anxious about flying.

Cote sued Air Transat and the employees on the flight that day, accusing them of failing to provide appropriate medical assistance, seeking damages of $8,000 for the anguish he suffered as a result of their neglect.

But judge Michele Pauze rejected Cote's case.

In her decision, she said she agreed with arguments offered by Air Transat representative Chantal Chlala, who explained to the court that flight attendants do not have the right to examine passengers, and even less to make a diagnosis.

"It was not incumbent upon a flight attendant to conduct the medical examination of a passenger, a measure reserved for the medical profession,"

wrote judge Pauzé.

Although she conceded that Cote could very well have experienced troubling moments in the episode, the judge maintained that "nothing in the facts (put before us) proves that that the situation was dangerous or worrisome to the point of requiring the immediate attention of a doctor."

Not only did Pauze rule against Cote, she also ordered him to pay for the court costs incurred by Air Transat, amounting to $189.

notjustjay
Mar 12, 2010, 03:06 PM
Yeah. Putting aside the, uh, "personal nature" of the examination, I think the airline made the right call. If one of you came to me and asked me for my opinion on your injury or illness or wound -- no matter where it was -- I would be similarly uncomfortable. For anything beyond the simplest first aid, I would have said the same thing -- "I can't help you, see a doctor when you can".

I would not want to risk giving you incorrect advice, both from the perspective of doing my best to help you (wouldn't I feel terrible if I told you I thought it was nothing and then it turned out to be cancer), and from the perspective of not wanting to be sued to oblivion, especially if I was in any sort of position of authority.

ucfgrad93
Mar 12, 2010, 03:10 PM
Yeah. Putting aside the, uh, "personal nature" of the examination, I think the airline made the right call. If one of you came to me and asked me for my opinion on your injury or illness or wound -- no matter where it was -- I would be similarly uncomfortable. For anything beyond the simplest first aid, I would have said the same thing -- "I can't help you, see a doctor when you can".

I would not want to risk giving you incorrect advice, both from the perspective of doing my best to help you (wouldn't I feel terrible if I told you I thought it was nothing and then it turned out to be cancer), and from the perspective of not wanting to be sued to oblivion, especially if I was in any sort of position of authority.

Agreed. The judge I think ruled correctly.

scottness
Mar 12, 2010, 03:13 PM
^^Right.

I would be too embarrassed to bring a situation like this to court.

rdowns
Mar 12, 2010, 03:21 PM
^^Right.

I would be too embarrassed to bring a situation like this to court.


Dude, size doesn't matter. :D

scottness
Mar 12, 2010, 03:23 PM
Dude, size doesn't matter. :D

Nice. lol. :)

Abstract
Mar 12, 2010, 04:08 PM
Apparently it does.

.....was dismissed in small claims court this past Tuesday.

:p

rhett7660
Mar 12, 2010, 04:26 PM
Agreed. The judge I think ruled correctly.

Thank god, I do to!!!! Unless of course he spilled some very hot coffee and then sues em for that too!

davidjearly
Mar 13, 2010, 05:15 AM
I think the airline crew were correct in refusing to examine the individual, but I also think they were wrong in refusing to call a doctor.

the members of the flight crew told him they would contact a physician if the illness was grave enough

Since when was a team of airline staff equipped to decide what constitutes an urgent medical problem. This also contradicts their argument that examination should be left to medical professionals. So should decision making about medical problems.

JNB
Mar 13, 2010, 08:48 AM
I think the airline crew were correct in refusing to examine the individual, but I also think they were wrong in refusing to call a doctor.

Since when was a team of airline staff equipped to decide what constitutes an urgent medical problem. This also contradicts their argument that examination should be left to medical professionals. So should decision making about medical problems.

Actually, it doesn't. Flight Attendants (at least in the US) receive basic first aid training along with a set of reasonable criteria for determining the escalation of medical situations. "Grave enough" in this sense refers to someone that is unconscious, having difficulty breathing, bleeding profusely, unresponsive, and so on. "Hey, look at my balls" doesn't quite pass muster. ;)

Denarius
Mar 13, 2010, 09:02 AM
Yep, a sensible decision by the judge. You see, it can happen after all. ;)

joepunk
Mar 14, 2010, 10:55 AM
How the heck does one rupture a vain near ones scrotum while sitting in an airplane? That's the question he should be asking himself so that it never happens again.

allmIne
Mar 14, 2010, 03:55 PM
Actually, it doesn't. Flight Attendants (at least in the US) receive basic first aid training along with a set of reasonable criteria for determining the escalation of medical situations. "Grave enough" in this sense refers to someone that is unconscious, having difficulty breathing, bleeding profusely, unresponsive, and so on. "Hey, look at my balls" doesn't quite pass muster. ;)

+1 for informativeness :)

davidjearly
Mar 14, 2010, 03:56 PM
Actually, it doesn't. Flight Attendants (at least in the US) receive basic first aid training along with a set of reasonable criteria for determining the escalation of medical situations. "Grave enough" in this sense refers to someone that is unconscious, having difficulty breathing, bleeding profusely, unresponsive, and so on. "Hey, look at my balls" doesn't quite pass muster. ;)

It's quite clear that you have no medical background. If they refused to examine the individual, they could not determine the extent of any bleeding, either internally or externally.

Your last sentence shows a blatant lack of tact. I imagine the person involved would have been extremely embarrassed at having to ask someone to examine him, but was likely quite terrified. I still insist that the individual involved was well within his rights to request a medical examination and IMO he should have received one. Basic first aid is not anywhere near extensive enough to be making judgement calls like this.

I guess the sort of attitude shown by the flight attendants (and the Judge) is just typical of modern Canada.

rdowns
Mar 14, 2010, 04:03 PM
Wow. Just wow.

KingYaba
Mar 14, 2010, 04:29 PM
I guess the sort of attitude shown by the flight attendants (and the Judge) is just typical of the modern US.

Don't you mean Canada? :rolleyes:

davidjearly
Mar 14, 2010, 04:45 PM
Yes, typo on my part - apologies for such a horrendous error :rolleyes:

My original point still applies. Thanks to both of you for taking the time to highlight my rather basic error, and for failing to actually participate in the discussion.

JNB
Mar 14, 2010, 06:20 PM
It's quite clear that you have no medical background. If they refused to examine the individual, they could not determine the extent of any bleeding, either internally or externally.

And it's quite clear you're jumping to conclusions, so save the feigned indignation, please..

I'm a (formerly) certified EMT, and fairly well-versed in commercial carrier standards and limits given my exposure to their operations on a nearly daily basis.

I can't speak for Canadian airlines, but on a US carrier if they would have sought on-board professional medical assistance, and lacking that have 24-hour access to ground-based advice and evaluation, which will advise either continuation or medically-necessitated termination of the flight.

I've been on board for dozens of medical emergencies, real and perceived, and each one has been handled with due care and diligence, with the affected passenger's well-being being foremost in each instance.

I would have to assume that in this case that had the bleeding been obviously profuse enough, or had the passenger been in substantial physical distress, the course of action would have been different. Again, being a Canadian charter carrier (and hence deeply ingrained with nationalized healthcare protocols :rolleyes:), I can't speak to the specifics.

And c'mon, "Hey, look at my balls" was funny. :D

davidjearly
Mar 14, 2010, 06:34 PM
And it's quite clear you're jumping to conclusions, so save the feigned indignation, please..

I'm a (formerly) certified EMT, and fairly well-versed in commercial carrier standards and limits given my exposure to their operations on a nearly daily basis.

I can't speak for Canadian airlines, but on a US carrier if they would have sought on-board professional medical assistance, and lacking that have 24-hour access to ground-based advice and evaluation, which will advise either continuation or medically-necessitated termination of the flight.

I've been on board for dozens of medical emergencies, real and perceived, and each one has been handled with due care and diligence, with the affected passenger's well-being being foremost in each instance.

I would have to assume that in this case that had the bleeding been obviously profuse enough, or had the passenger been in substantial physical distress, the course of action would have been different. Again, being a Canadian charter carrier (and hence deeply ingrained with nationalized healthcare protocols :rolleyes:), I can't speak to the specifics.

And c'mon, "Hey, look at my balls" was funny. :D

There was nothing 'feigned' about my post. I'm quite taken aback by the lack of care this man received. I would be disgusted if this happened on a regular basis.

The article does not state that the flight crew contacted a doctor either on board, or on ground. In fact, it states that they refused to do this, claiming his situation was not 'grave enough'. That clearly involves them making a medical judgement without any evidence (as they did not examine him in any way - they are not qualified to do so).

As I said, the bleeding could have been internal or external (I placed emphasis on that in my last post), which would be impossible for any of the on board flight crew to determine without examination.

And no, it really wasn't funny. It goes against the grain for me to laugh at others misfortune.

JNB
Mar 14, 2010, 06:50 PM
And no, it really wasn't funny. It goes against the grain for me to laugh at others misfortune.

Since all humor, at its root, is in the misfortune or failing of another, I must surmise that you find nothing funny. How sad. :(

Back on-topic, I was unaware of the nature of the carrier in question (Canada's leading charter operator), and generally find that all primarily charter carriers are a wee dodgy in their practices on a good day, regardless of the flag. Could they/should they have gone at least a little further? Certainly, but at the end of the day were entirely justified given the outcome. "What-ifs" are entirely immaterial, as the only thing that matters is what did transpire.

davidjearly
Mar 14, 2010, 07:24 PM
Since all humor, at its root, is in the misfortune or failing of another, I must surmise that you find nothing funny. How sad. :(

What's sad is your basic misconception of humour. There are many many examples of things which can be funny that do not involve human misfortune. Even more which do not relate to an individuals health. Oh dear.

Back on-topic, I was unaware of the nature of the carrier in question (Canada's leading charter operator), and generally find that all primarily charter carriers are a wee dodgy in their practices on a good day, regardless of the flag. Could they/should they have gone at least a little further? Certainly, but at the end of the day were entirely justified given the outcome. "What-ifs" are entirely immaterial, as the only thing that matters is what did transpire.

With that, I guess it's time to draw this discussion to a close as you have decided that all discussions which ultimately don't change anything are pointless. I don't think there would be much for you to talk about on a rumour site based on that.

OzExige
Mar 14, 2010, 07:38 PM
And it's quite clear you're jumping to conclusions, so save the feigned indignation, please..

I'm a (formerly) certified EMT, and fairly well-versed in commercial carrier standards and limits given my exposure to their operations on a nearly daily basis.

I can't speak for Canadian airlines, but on a US carrier if they would have sought on-board professional medical assistance, and lacking that have 24-hour access to ground-based advice and evaluation, which will advise either continuation or medically-necessitated termination of the flight.

I've been on board for dozens of medical emergencies, real and perceived, and each one has been handled with due care and diligence, with the affected passenger's well-being being foremost in each instance.

I would have to assume that in this case that had the bleeding been obviously profuse enough, or had the passenger been in substantial physical distress, the course of action would have been different. Again, being a Canadian charter carrier (and hence deeply ingrained with nationalized healthcare protocols :rolleyes:), I can't speak to the specifics.

And c'mon, "Hey, look at my balls" was funny. :D

The part that seems to escape most here is,
why couldn't he examine his own balls - think about it.
Was he terrified at the sight of blood (especially his own),
or was he not physically able to find them? :o

eh?

JNB
Mar 14, 2010, 07:40 PM
What's sad is your basic misconception of humour. There are many many examples of things which can be funny that do not involve human misfortune. Even more which do not relate to an individuals health. Oh dear.

With that, I guess it's time to draw this discussion to a close as you have decided that all discussions which ultimately don't change anything are pointless. I don't think there would be much for you to talk about on a rumour site based on that.

Oh, my, I suppose I'll have to slink away in shame and self-loathing now.

Lighten up, Francis. ;)

Chip NoVaMac
Mar 15, 2010, 11:06 AM
I think the airline crew were correct in refusing to examine the individual, but I also think they were wrong in refusing to call a doctor.

Since when was a team of airline staff equipped to decide what constitutes an urgent medical problem. This also contradicts their argument that examination should be left to medical professionals. So should decision making about medical problems.

I think the judge was wrong here MAYBE...

I maybe wrong on this... but the air crew is there to make only basic health care. Where they failed is asking for assistance from a Doctor that might be on the flight...

Wonder how the airline might feel if the guy bleed out and died from their inattention.

Been on a couple of flights that some hero's step up... yes it meant a delay or a different airport.... but in the end we all applauded them both...

snberk103
Mar 15, 2010, 01:17 PM
There have a been a couple of posts above that wondered at the air-crew's ability to decide the medical condition of this poor fellow. Someone, not naming names, even brought up the chance of him "bleeding out." Please note in the original article that he noticed "spots of blood". Not pools, puddles, or even grams. Just spots. Like a nose bleed. Maybe not even like a nose bleed. I could see a writer describing the (hypothetical) shirt as being "drenched" in order get more readers, if it had been a nose bleed.

I had a nose bleed on a plane once. It was not pretty, and the air-crew made sure I was looked after. But I didn't need to see a doctor, nor did I need the plane to touch down. I will admit that this fellow's bleeding was unusual due to the location, but let's keep some perspective here. "Spots of Blood".

What did the fellow expect from a closer inspection. "Yep, you're bleeding. But you knew that already."

Crew and Judge made the right decision, in my humble opinion.

Harmless Abuse
Mar 15, 2010, 01:17 PM
I personally agree with the judge's ruling.

I obviously wasn't there, but when they claim "if the illness was grave enough" then I assume if he was bleeding profusely then they'd act upon it in a different fashion.

Going from what is in the article in itself, things like "spots of blood" make me assume he's not really gushing any bodily fluids profusely.

Think about it. Most people freak when someone is losing a moderate amount of blood, and I assume flight attendants would to. Perhaps he was bleeding a bit, but I doubt he was in absolute danger.

I understand the need for proper medical attention, but there has to be a line somewhere. The man was clearly alert, standing, and while frightened, I doubt he was showing signs of dying any moment.

MarkCollette
Mar 15, 2010, 01:21 PM
Ughh, I hate these "mental anguish" cases. Since when should someone's failure to have coping skills be anyone else's problem? Real mental anguish is watching your friends or family die in front of you, or being subjected to torture, or something along those lines. Not sitting in a comfy chair for 3 hours with a slightly damp crotch. Yes, it's stressing to not know if everything's 100% A-OK. That's life. Deal with it.

Going from what is in the article in itself, things like "spots of blood" make me assume he's not really gushing any bodily fluids profusely.


Well, there's also internal bleeding. But then you're looking to see if they're becoming pale, or dizzy.

Roric
Mar 15, 2010, 02:53 PM
What started off as a dream trip to a Southern paradise with his wife,
If his wife was along, why didn't he just ask her to look? Why have a stranger do it? Wouldn't that help to alleviate his mental anguish?

MarkCollette
Mar 15, 2010, 03:06 PM
If his wife was along, why didn't he just ask her to look? Why have a stranger do it? Wouldn't that help to alleviate his mental anguish?

How can one not look at their own genitalia? Is this from being fat or something? Bad eye sight? But totally agree, I'd ask my wife waaay before asking random stewards/stewardesses.