- Jul 11, 2003
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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.