The daughter of a man who died after suffering a heart attack on a cruise ship in Alaska is speaking out after her family was awarded millions by a federal jury in Miami.
A once in a lifetime Alaskan cruise ended in heartbreak and anguish for the family of Richard Puchalski aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Explorer of the Seas in 2016.
The Chicago-area family said Puchalski, who was celebrating his 70th birthday on the ship with his wife, children and grandchildren, went into cardiac arrest in his room shortly after visiting the ship's doctor.
"Watching my father die in front of my family due to the negligence committed by Royal Caribbean caused such great suffering and trauma in my family’s life. We are forever changed and broken because of it," daughter Laura Goodloe told reporters at a news conference Thursday.
Goodloe and her attorneys said her father had been given medication while the ship was at port in Juneau, and he was sent back to his room and told to check in with the doctor later.
"She didn't get him off the ship to one of those hospitals, she didn't adequately treat him in that clinic. Instead she gave him two medications which are specifically counter-indicated for people suffering from the condition Mr. Puchalski was suffering from," attorney Todd Michaels said.
The family said Puchalski had acute new onset congestive heart failure, which they said was treatable, but he died a few days later. The family already won a wrongful death suit against Royal Caribbean, and a federal jury in Miami awarded the family $3.4 million.
Royal Caribbean is appealing the verdict. The cruise line denied wrongdoing in court documents and defended themselves at trial but told NBC 6 they don't comment on pending litigation.
Goodloe said it isn't about the lawsuit, it's about calling for better medical care on cruise ships and warning people about what could happen on the water.
"These are floating cities, I believe future cases could be prevented if we had better medical facilities and better educated medical providers rendering services," Goodloe said.