World News

Kelowna woman wants apology after helping sick airline passenger

Suzanne Hilts is back at work as a dental assistant.

Back from a trip from Mexico, where everything was fine. That is, until she landed in Kelowna, where she suddenly had to provide medical assistance to a passenger who became violently ill on the Air Transat plane.

“She was unconscious. Her skin was really pasty,” Hilts said of the woman. “She had no movement. I immediately turned and started yelling at the flight attendants — we have a passenger in need of medical assistance.”

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Hilts says things escalated when the woman began vomiting.

“All of my stuff was covered in vomit, feces,” said Hilts. “It wasn’t pleasant.”

After medical staff showed up, it was time for Hilts, covered in the sick woman’s bodily fluids, to get off the plane.

“I got to the door of the aircraft where there was two — I’m not sure what their position was, but they were wearing vests,” said Hilts. “I held out my hands and was trying to state that I needed to clean. They told me to go directly to customs.”

Despite being covered in bodily fluids, Hilts says customs showed zero empathy.

“When I then said: ‘I’m covered in vomit and feces.’ He held up at garbage can to discard some items and I just walked out of customs,” said Hilts.

Hilts says she expected more professionalism from Canada Customs where she got off the plane. The Kelowna Airport says it can’t speak for Canada Customs, but it says it did everything by the book.

Airport director Sam Samaddar says staff followed protocol and the passenger who had fallen ill was the priority.

“I have to look at it in terms of our crews and our people responding to a specific incident,” said Samaddar. “There’s nothing to indicate to us that we did something that was not correct.”

Hilts says she contacted the airport and they’ve yet to return her call. She also called Air Transat and says she was given the run around. Air Transat tells Global News that it followed procedures and that its flight crew was present with the ailing woman at all times. Hilts says it will take some time to erase the memories of what happened on that plane.

“It was traumatic,” said Hilts. “It was really traumatic having that happen on the plane and dealing with that.”

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