Gaby Assouline Florida woman left a quadriplegic sues Southwest Airlines after falling down negotiating jet bridge after staff refused to assist her.
A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines after suffering ‘catastrophic, life altering’ injuries that left her a quadriplegic after falling down after staff refused her request for assistance accessing a jet bridge, court papers state.
The Broward County suit asserts that Gaby Assouline, 24, who suffers from a muscle disease, was traveling from South Florida to Denver in February when she asked for someone to push her wheelchair down the corridor.
The suit contends that a Southwest supervisor at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport declined her request and that she was forced to negotiate the jet bridge on her own.
Assouline was then ‘thrown’ from the wheelchair before landing on her head — and is now paralyzed from the neck down, the suit states according to WPLG.
A GoFundMe page set up for Assouline by her mother, Sandra Assouline, said that she cracked her vertebrae in the fall and is now forced to use a feeding tube.
Southwest insists passengers safety is its primary priority
‘She can’t speak because she has a tube down her throat, and she has no movement below her neck,’ the mom wrote on the page. ‘The fear and pain she is showing in her eyes when she wakes up in those brief moments of clarity is too much to bear.’
Assouline said her daughter suffers from a disorder that turns muscle tissue into bone, limiting her mobility when the condition flares.
Southwest has since responded saying its passengers safety is its ‘primary priority.’
Southwest spokesman Chris Perry told the Dallas Morning News in a statement. ‘We have reviewed the customer’s initial account of her travel experience and have offered a response directly to those involved.’
The suit is demanding that Southwest pay for Assouline’s daunting medical care and compensate her for suffering.
‘After the hospital, she will need to be moved to a live-in inpatient rehab facility where she will learn to live with her new reality,’ her mother wrote. ‘Gaby will need occupational, speech, physical, psychological, and many other therapies in order to regain what she’s lost.’
It remained unclear why the airliner declined the disabled passenger’s request for assistance before her fall.