A 74-year-old woman who called the Phoenix Fire Department to be rescued from a misbegotten hike is now suing the city for $2 million, accusing them of responsibility for a spinal cord injury.
The alleged spinal cord injury occurred last year when Katalin Metro and her husband set out for a hike on Piestewa Peak in Phoenix on the morning of June 4th. When she became disoriented and was unable to climb back down the 2,612-foot mountain, the two called the Phoenix Fire Department for help, but when the rescue team arrived she informed them that she simply wanted help hiking back down rather than being removed by helicopter.
Helicopter Airlift Results In Spinal Cord Injury
Despite Mrs. Metro’s request, the Fire Department strapped her into a Stokes basket to be suspended by rope from the helicopter and taken to the hospital, and that is when the spinal cord injury occurred. The basket began spinning, at times achieving a spin rate of 150 times per minute. The incident was captured on video that has been viewed millions of times. More importantly to Mrs. Metro, though the Phoenix Fire Department insisted that she had “suffered no ill effects from that spin other than being a little bit dizzy,” she says that is not the case.
In addition to a spinal cord injury, Mrs. Metro experienced severe bruising and swelling around her eyes and in parts of her skull. Her hearing was affected by blood accumulating in her auditory canals and she required spinal surgery, a three-week stay in the hospital, and outpatient therapy. Her medical bills cost almost $300,000, and the lawsuit states, “Katalin Metro’s injuries were caused or contributed to by the negligence, negligence per se, gross negligence, carelessness and/or other faults on the part of the City of Phoenix.”