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Disabled Man Died After Lift From Plane At Stansted

January 24, 2012

A minor injury suffered by a disabled man when he was lifted from his aeroplane seat contributed to his death five days later, a coroner has ruled.

Robert Browne, 69, of Norwich, received bruising to his chest when being moved into an “aisle chair” at Stansted Airport, an inquest in Norwich heard.

He died in hospital on 26 September 2010.

Norfolk deputy coroner Jacqueline Lake said the lifting manoeuvre had led to a haematoma in his left chest wall.

Violently sick

Mr Browne, of Gristock Place in the Marlpit area of the city, was returning from a holiday to Spain on 21 September with his wife Jennifer and 11-year-old granddaughter.

He had been paralysed on the left side of his body for 11 years, after suffering two strokes, and needed to be lifted in and out of his aeroplane seat by two people.

Mrs Browne said the armrest could not be moved, which the inquest heard was standard on Thomson flights, and two or three attempts at the lift had caused her husband to cry out in pain.

She said her view had been obscured, but two extension straps intended for seatbelts were then placed under her Mr Browne’s arms to lift him into the aisle chair.

Giving evidence, Integrated Services Solutions (ISS) handlers Stephen Clark and Adrian Koziak said they would have lifted Mr Browne manually as ISS did not use straps, and anything unusual would have been recorded.

Mrs Browne said she had noticed bruising on her husband’s left arm on 26 September, when paramedics arrived to take him to hospital after he was violently sick and “didn’t think he was going to make it”.

‘Serious medical conditions’

He died later that day due to bronchial pneumonia and a large haematoma in his chest wall.

Medication to prevent blood clots meant haematoma could be caused by something relatively minor and become large, pathologist Dr Ahsan Ali said.

Summing up, Mrs Lake said she was satisfied that a manual lift or a lift with straps would have caused bruising.

Giving her narrative verdict, Mrs Lake said: “Mr Browne suffered a minor injury to his chest wall being lifted from an aeroplane seat to an aisle chair, which led to his death, contributed to by a background of underlying serious medical conditions.”

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