Neurosurgeon sues airline over tray-table incident

The surgeon caught his little finger when attempting to snap the table back

Neurosurgeon sues airline over tray-table incident


An Australian brain surgeon is suing Austrian Airlines for physical and psychological injuries after catching his little fingers in an aeroplane fold-out tray table.

Dr David Walker flew from Brisbane to Manchester via Bangkok and Vienna with the Austrian carrier in July last year, when one of his fingers was injured by the collapsible table.

According to the neurosurgeon, a member of the cabin crew folded out the tray from the armrest of his business class chair during the meal service of the long-haul flight from Bangkok to Vienna. When the cabin crew did not revisit his seat to retract the table, Walker was unable to recline his chair and so he tried to do it himself.

At that point, the tray table “snapped back suddenly without warning,” trapping his finger.

“The fifth finger on the right hand of the Applicant became jammed in between two of the part of the horizontal tray-table resulting in severe pain and injury,” the surgeon’s legal documents assert.

Soft tissue and psychological trauma

Walker was able to release his finger from the mechanism with the help of his son. “Due to the severe pain and realisation of the injury to the finger, the Applicant lost consciousness briefly,” his statement adds.

The surgeon claims that his finger was fractured in the accident, as well as receiving damage to the soft tissue and nail bed. Walker says the injury has left him permanently disabled, resulting in ensuing anxiety and depression.

He also claims his earning potential has been affected and that he will face future medical expenses.

Reacting to the case, an Austrian Airlines spokesman said that the flyer’s legal department is examining the legal documents filed in court, but that an internal investigation suggested that the brain surgeon had not spoken to the cabin crew after the incident.

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