According to news reports, forty-seven-year-old Barbara Wood of Middleborough died today aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship while it was off the Florida coast. She apparently slipped on stairs and fell down a staircase, and hit her head. Although rushed to the infirmary, Wood was pronounced dead approximately an hour later.
Wood was on a five-day cruise on the Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. Like most cruise ship companies, the Royal Caribbean says it was prepared to handle medical emergencies. According to a spokesperson for the Royal Caribbean, each ship has 24-hour medical professionals, as well as an infirmary stocked with a plethora of pharmaceuticals and equipment, including x-rays and cardiac defibrillators.
As this incident indicates, cruise ships, while hot spots for vacationing and sightseeing, are also prime breeding groups for all types of injuries-from slip-and-fall accidents, to food poisoning, to sexual assaults and rape, to fires and collisions. Whether this particular ship’s medical equipment and facilities were adequate is currently unknown, and some people are skeptical about whether cruise ships are generally prepared for life-threatening situations.
This accident comes only a few weeks after the devastating Carnival Corp. accident that resulted in several deaths when it crashed off the coast of Italy. Cruise ship accident cases can be difficult to litigate because such ships are often governed by antiquated maritime and international laws. Individuals injured in cruise ship accidents should seek immediate medical attention and contact a skilled personal injury lawyer to determine their best avenue of recovery.
Middleborough woman dies aboard cruise ship in waters off Florida, Boston.com, January 30, 2012.
Cruise lines say they’re prepared for medical emergencies, Sun-Sentinel.com, January 30, 2012.