12 FEB 2019: An Illinois woman is suing Holland America, claiming she suffered unnecessary lasting neurological damage because her cruise did not airlift her after she had a stroke. Lila Graciela Kohn Gale is now confined to a nursing home and has difficulty with speech and mobility.

The lawsuit filed by her son on her behalf claims there was a 15-hour delay in receiving adequate treatment.

"They were careless, inefficient and heartless," her husband John Gale said of the Holland America Line cruise.

Holland America's MS Zuiderdam, sailed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at about 4 p.m. on March 21, 2018, according to the lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Seattle.

The suit claims that about four and a half hours after departure, Gale was having dinner when she lost consciousness.

"A medical team was dispatched and noted her to be confused, drowsy and with slurred speech," the suit says, and she was diagnosed with 'severe stroke' by senior doctor on Holland America's MS Zuiderdam and recommended a CT scan and to see a neurologist.

The doctor noted that her condition was deteriorating.

MS Zuiderdam was only about 100 miles from the US coastline at the time.

Rather than an airlift Gale was allegedly put on a tug boat to a hospital in Freeport, Bahamas, which didn't have a neurosurgery department or a working CT scan.

"Any reasonably prudent healthcare provider in Dr. Socrates Lopez's position would have known that a medical air-evacuation to a comprehensive stroke center was medically necessary," the suit stated.

It would take more than 12 hours after she reached the Bahamas before Gale reached Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

The delay allegedly caused a worsening condition to go untreated which led to permanent damage.

A spokesperson for the Seattle-based cruise line declined to discuss Gale's lawsuit. "Out of respect for the family involved, we decline the opportunity to comment," she said in a statement.

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