Tue, 12 Mar, 2019Shannen Findlay

$4.9 million awarded to family of man who had heart attack on cruise ship

$4.9 million awarded to family of man who had heart attack on cruise ship

The family of a man who had a severe heart attack while on a cruise ship and later died has been awarded a mammoth amount of money.

Royal Caribbean Cruises has been ordered to pay AU$4.79 million (US$3.38 million) by a court in the US state of Florida.

The court granted this verdict after hearing that a doctor on the Explorer of the Seas made a number of severe mistakes.

Richard Puchalski boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise with his family in July 2016 in celebration of his 70th birthday.

Not long into the voyage, he visited the medic on board, Dr Amanda Saunders, complaining of shortness of breath.

The man was given medication and sent to rest back in his room when only half an hour later, the 70-year-old collapsed

Two nurses did not provide any further treatment after being unable to lift him.

Eventually the Mr Puchalski was taken back to the medic but his family’s lawyer, Michael Haggard, successfully argued that “there was an additional significant delay before he was transferred ashore".

The 70-year-old father died four days later in a hospital in Juneau, Alaska.

The lawsuit successfully argued that the doctor should have alerted the man’s family of his health issues and kept him for further monitoring and tests.

The legal counsel's argument further believed Mr Puchalski should have been transferred back to shore for medical treatment when the extent of his illness was clear.

A federal jury in Miami ruled that the Royal Caribbean was 70 per cent to blame for the circumstances that occurred. Blame was also placed on Dr Saunders and Mr Puchalski.

“Until the cruise line industry makes the long-overdue, necessary changes to the standard of care, more families will suffer these life changing tragedies, and we will continue to file these lawsuits and present to juries these obvious cases of negligence,“ Mr Haggard explained to the Miami Herald newspaper.

Royal Caribbean, one of the world’s most popular and largest cruise lines, says it plans to appeal the ruling.

“We respectfully disagree with the outcome of this case. We are considering our legal options, and we intend to appeal the decision,” the company said in a statement.

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