B.C. Man Blames WestJet for Mother's Death

May 24th 2011 – 7:20AM
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CBC News
A B.C. man is sounding the alarm after his 87-year-old mother died of pneumonia one week after her spare oxygen was taken away during a WestJet flight.

During a May 3 flight from Winnipeg to Abbotsford, B.C., Bill Garner says a flight attendant confiscated a spare oxygen tank belonging to his mother, Amy Garner, because it didn't have a regulator.

Garner said his mother died at his Agassiz, B.C., home from pneumonia a week later.

"They contributed to my mom's death, as far as I'm concerned," he said.

"She never recovered from the time she got here - just being all worked up and then getting off the plane and her having no oxygen for two hours to get to my place. It took everything out of her and she never recovered from it."

The elderly woman suffered from emphysema and cardiopulmonary disease, and had been on oxygen for 10 years.

Garner said his mother tried to exchange the spare tank for the one she had nearly emptied during a stopover in Calgary, but the flight attendant refused.

Garner's sister Judy Gerylo was on the flight with their mother.

"So we said, 'Well, she has to have oxygen. What are we going to do?' I said, 'Will you let us get off the plane and exchange tanks?' Well no, they wouldn't let me do that," Gerylo said.

"I mean, they have to have something they can do when a person who needs oxygen - you don't take their tank away from them."

WestJet refused to comment on the case, and referred CBC News to its website, which states that oxygen tanks on aircrafts do require regulators.
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