A British man was airlifted from a cruise ship to a hospital 800 miles away after the vessel’s physician allegedly misdiagnosed his “pulled muscle” as a serious infection.
Stephen Cassidy, a 60-year-old music teacher from Dorset, England, told South West News Service that he “just can’t understand” the situation and was “totally panicked and angry.”
Cassidy said he was on a two-week cruise to Norway with Princess Cruises to celebrate his wife Carol’s 60th birthday and their 40th wedding anniversary, the New York Post reported.
But their trip went downhill after Cassidy felt a pain in his thigh, where he had a hip replacement.
Cassidy visited the ship’s doctor and then underwent a physical examination and X-ray to determine what was wrong.
“The ship’s doctor told me that something in one of the blood tests he carried out suggested I had infection in my hip,” Cassidy alleged, adding that he was administered IV drips three times a day for nearly a week.
The cruise ship was initially slated to dock in Iceland, where Cassidy could visit a doctor before returning aboard. However, the vessel could not stop, so the physician sent Cassidy’s orthopedic X-rays to a surgeon, who reportedly determined that there was nothing to worry about and that he could stay aboard.
But a nurse allegedly then asked Cassidy his weight and told his wife that she needed to pack his bag because he had to leave the cruise ship.
Cassidy, a former army reservist and police dog handler, was devastated, saying he “felt like a prisoner.”
The British man realized he was going to miss his wife’s birthday, so he told his wife to “have a happy birthday tomorrow,” after the doctor said he needed to leave the ship.
“The doctor obviously knew he’d caused [a] great deal of upset,” Cassidy claimed.
Cassidy also alleged that the medical staff then went “from being friendly” to “suddenly very hostile.”
Despite being able to walk, the ship’s medical staff allegedly put Cassidy in a wheelchair until they reached the ship’s deck, where he and two other unwell passengers were transferred to a helicopter.
Cassidy and the other passengers were flown to Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick, Scotland, for a medical examination. In the hospital, Cassidy said he learned that he didn’t have an infection and that the injury was likely a pulled muscle.
He claimed that he was “absolutely fuming” after learning he just had a “muscle sprain” and insisted that he “never should have been medically disembarked from the ship.”
Cassidy’s expenses from his ruined cruise ballooned after he allegedly paid more than $1,000 for flights home and a night in a hotel.
While his insurance company reportedly shouldered his medical expenses, Cassidy felt the cruise liner should have covered the bill because it didn’t consider his anxiety and depression when he was allegedly forced to disembark the ship.
“I feel Princess should be paying this because I’m now 60 and I’ve got pre-existing conditions,” Cassidy said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Princess Cruises refused to discuss Cassidy’s case but told the Daily Mail that his allegations were “without merit.”