A tale as old as time: company serves coffee, person scalded by coffee, person sues the shit out of company


via flyertalk A Mumbai resident is contemplating legal action after his head was scalded during beverage service and then treated incorrectly on a Qatar Airways flight. Manohar Suvarna, a Mumbai-based engineer, probably didn’t expect to end up in an ambulance after sitting down in seat 15C on Qatar Airways Flight 557 from Mumbai to Berlin — but, according to his recounting of the incident to the Mumbai Mirror, that’s exactly what happened. Suvarna’s bad luck began during beverage service, when the passenger in the window-seat next to him asked for coffee and, while pouring a steaming cup, the flight attendant accidentally dropped the entire pot on his head. Suvarna said he was taken by surprise and instantly felt scalding pain on his forehead. Granted, accidents happen — and Suvarna acknowledged that — but to make matters worse, crew members and on-board paramedics gave him improper treatment. According to A-TEC Ambulance operating procedures, the best practice when treating burns is to cover the affected area with a dry or saline-soaked sterile cloth, depending on the severity of the burn. Instead, crew members washed his forehead and applied burn gel. When the crew’s treatment didn’t seem to help, two on-board paramedics put a Band-Aid over Suvarna’s burn. As expected, when the plane touched down and Suvarna was examined in an ambulance, another paramedic confirmed he’d received improper treatment onboard.“The paramedic in the ambulance was really frustrated and surprised when he saw the Band-Aid tape on my forehead,” Suvarna told the Mumbai Mirror. “He asked me who put it there and said it was totally wrong and that the in-flight paramedics had permanently ruined my forehead skin.” A large amount of Suvarna’s skin peeled off with the Band-Aid when the ambulance paramedic removed it. Suvarna is now soliciting legal advice, as he is considering suing the airline for its negligence and improper treatment.

Ah yes. Another law suit at the hands of scalding beverages. This all started in ’92 when  Stella Liebeck accidentally spilled a McDonald’s coffee in her lap and was awarded a cool $2,860,000 from the golden arches (I guess it was actually reduced to $500k but that’s neither here nor there). Whenever I think of people filing outrageous lawsuits against other people / companies, the McDonalds coffee case is the first thing that comes to mind.

I was ready to rip this guy apart for being a frivolous asshole, but after reading two articles thorough examination of the facts and painstaking investigative journalism, I’ve concluded that this is 100% the airline and flight attendant’s fault.

Like Suvarna acknowledged in the Mumbai Mirror article, accidents happen. Sometimes flight attendants accidentally plow through your knee with the beverage cart when you’re sitting in the aisle. Sometimes a flight attendant “accidentally” doesn’t serve you another double scotch because she “accidentally” thinks you’re slurring / drooling. Those are accidents that you can reasonably expect from time to time. However, accidentally dropping an entire pot of coffee on someone’s head is closer to attempted murder than it is to an accident. To make things even worse, this didn’t happen in the US where airlines serve bacteria infested coffee at a temperature somewhere between “recently thawed” and “tepid.” This happened in Inida where everything is a million degrees. So even if this story stops at “a flight attendant dumped an entire pot of coffee on my head,” this guy is 100% entitled to vast sums of Rupee from Qatar Airways. The fact that the flight attendants / on-board paramedics (is that a thing?) butchered this even more by treating the burn the exact opposite way you’re supposed to treat it only furthers my point. I don’t need flight attendants to have medical degrees, but at least watch a couple episodes of House and learn a thing or two about not permanently ruin / disfigure the passengers.

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