Airlines Settle $6 Million Lawsuit in Wrongful Death of Obese Woman

| by Lisa Fogarty

The grieving husband of an obese woman who lost her life because three airlines sent her on a wild “goose chase” to find her way back to the U.S. for treatment has quietly settled his $6 million wrongful death lawsuit against the companies, reports the New York Daily News.

Janos Soltesz, 57, says 407-pound Vilma died because she was bounced back and forth among Delta, KLM Dutch and Lufthansa airlines in October 2012 and none of the airlines would agree to fly her back to the U.S. to visit a doctor. The couple flew to their native Hungary one month prior to her death and all was well until Vilma reportedly began feeling sick on Oct. 2.

The woman, who also had a partially amputated leg and used a wheelchair to get around, needed to “adjust her medication” or be prescribed new medicine, according to the lawsuit, and her New York doctor reportedly told her to visit him as soon as possible.

That was only the beginning of this woman’s nightmare.

While on board a KLM flight to New York, they reportedly discovered the backs of their seats were broken, which made it impossible for Vilma to move from her wheelchair to the seats. According to the suit, KLM employees wouldn’t change their seats and Vilma and her husband were forced off the plane.

Things were no better the next day.

KLM reportedly told them they were able to book them on a Delta flight home, but that they’d have to travel five hours by car to get to Prague’s airport. They made sure to get there seven hours early, only to discover the flight lacked a proper wheelchair to transport Vilma on board. Again, they were allegedly forced off a flight.

Fast forward a few weeks and Janos and Vilma were booked on a Lufthansa flight that their travel agent insisted was equipped to accommodate their special needs. But after they were comfortable in their seats, the captain reportedly came out and told them they would have to disembark because the passengers had a connecting flight and he feared they would be delayed because of them.

After returning home and waiting to be booked on a fourth flight, Janos reportedly found Vilma dead in her bed on October 24.

The airlines were charged with showing “a willful, wanton and reckless disregard” for the woman’s health because they “intentionally refused to make the proper accommodations for her.”

The only airline that has thus far commented is Delta, reports ABC News. In a statement, the airline said: “We believe the suit is entirely without merit. After the operating carrier in Budapest was physically unable to board Mrs. Soltesz on its flight, and despite a determined good-faith effort by Delta in Prague, we were also physically unable to board her on our aircraft on Oct. 16.”

Source: New York Daily News, ABC News

Photo Credit: TV2 Hungary