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Carnival slammed with a lawsuit claiming the cruise line refused to let an elderly man off the ship after he suffered a heart attack. He later died.

Business Insider logo Business Insider 6/26/2019 Graham Rapier
a large ship in a body of water © Ivan Cholakov/shutterstock
  • In a new lawsuit, a South Carolina family alleges Carnival Cruise Lines held their 65-year-old grandfather on the ship against their will after he suffered a heart attack.
  • On the 21-hour voyage from one port to another, Jeffrey Eisenman died. Something the family says wouldn't have happened if they were allowed to fly him back to the US.
  • Carnival did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After suffering a heart attack while in port, Carnival Cruise Lines wouldn't let 65-year-old Jefferey Eisenman off the ship, his family claimed in a new lawsuit.

They say the company forced the three-generations of their family to sail another 21 hours before allowing their grandfather off the boat, despite having purchased insurance which would pay for an air ambulance to rescue him and transport him to receive appropriate care in the United States.

"Despite their many cries for help, Carnival utterly failed the Eisenman family and disregarded the life of a critically ill human being," the lawsuit, filed in Miami federal court in June, reads.

Carnival did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The family's lawsuit cites part of Carnival's passenger bill of rights, an industry-wide set of rules, which says passengers have "The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as . . . medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard."

Once at sea after leaving Grand Turk, where Eisenman suffered the heart attack and was taken to the ship's medical quarters, he developed complications, the family claims.

"While confined to the ship's medical center his blood sugar elevated drastically," the family said in court documents. "

"The ship's physician was unable to control Mr. Eisenman's blood sugar due to the limitations of the ship's infirmary and medical supply. He lost consciousness. Mr. Eisenman's condition continued to decline as each precious hour passed. He began to have respiratory problems and was unable to breathe properly. He was administered oxygen, but his condition still worsened. His family watched on in agony as he slowly slipped away."

Finally, the ship arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico after the all-night medical work, but Eisenman had died.

The family is asking for a jury trial and compensation for damages from the company, including funeral and court costs, as well as "extreme emotional distress." Carnival has 21 days to respond to the court summons.

"Carnival's conduct towards the Eisenmans and their critically ill patriarch was so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community," the lawsuit reads.

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