July 20, 2024

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Widow sues cruise ship after dead man was left in a soda cooler for six days |  outside

Widow sues cruise ship after dead man was left in a soda cooler for six days | outside

American Marilyn Jones is accusing Celebrity Cruises of misleading the body of her 78-year-old husband, who died of a heart attack on board. The body was said to have been left in the beverage cooler rather than in the ship’s morgue and was found in a “horrible state of decomposition”.

This past August, Marilyn Jones and her husband, Robert, boarded the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship for an eight-day Caribbean cruise. The couple had only been on the road for two days when disaster struck and 79-year-old Robert Jones died of a heart attack. His wife was given two choices of what to do with her late husband’s body. She could have removed his body from the ship in Puerto Rico or left it on board until the ship reached Florida six days later. Jones was allegedly urged by the ship’s crew to choose the second option. The lawsuit, reported by the Miami New Times, says the crew told Ms. Jones there was a “50/50 chance” that if she got off the ship, the coroner would take her husband’s body for an autopsy. She also had to stay in Puerto Rico with his body and make arrangements herself to bring the body, and herself, back to Florida. The other option, keeping the body in the morgue, seemed more logical to Jones. Cruise ships are required by law to have these morgues. For example, carcasses can be stored for weeks without decomposing.

“The body is terribly decomposing.”

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However, according to the complaint, the morgue was out of order and Jones’ body was instead placed in a beverage cooler that was not cold enough to hold the body. The indictment stated: “The cooler in which the funeral attendant found Mr. Jones’ body contained drinks placed outside the cooler box and which were not of sufficient or appropriate temperature to hold the body to prevent decomposition.” The body was not located on a bed or medical table, but in a bag on a board on the floor of a cooler.

The indictment stated that the body had been stored at an extremely low temperature, and had “decomposed terribly”. When the undertaker and the sheriff’s deputy discovered that Jones’ body had not been in the morgue, but had been moved to a liquor cooler, it “immediately became evident” that it was in an advanced stage of decomposition, according to the lawsuit. She added that the body had been splattered by the gas and “his skin turned green”. The family was unable to obtain an open casket in the aftermath of his funeral and his funeral because of this. To her shock, Ms. Jones, who was married to her husband of 55 years, and her family are seeking at least $1 million in damages. In the lawsuit, the family accuses Celebrity Cruises of “acting recklessly, willfully and brutally, without any concern for their loved ones” by not ensuring that a morgue was operational and disposing of remains carefully.

Emotionally devastated

“She’s had a very difficult choice,” Thomas Carey, the attorney representing Ms. Jones, her two daughters and three grandchildren, said in an interview Friday. “She logically chose the ship’s morgue, after making sure she had a functioning facility,” he said. “They know what’s on the ship. They know what works and what doesn’t.” And the captain is in charge. All of them, really. Had Jones known the morgue was broken, she would have gone down in Puerto Rico. Instead, Carey said she is emotionally devastated by what happened.

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In a statement, Celebrity Cruises declined to comment due to “the alleged sensitivity of the facts and out of respect for the family.”