A Black British man in severe need of a monthly blood transfusion was turned away from a Jamaican airport after airline officials refused his passport, and he died a few days later. Because pieces of his identity were destroyed, the staff judged that it was invalid.
According to Metro News UK, Chaz Carl Powell was denied admission to his March 9 trip by British Airways in Montego Bay, saying that his passport was in too bad of shape to be valid for international travel.
After spending time with his girlfriend on the island, the 41-year-old needed to return to England for his regular blood transfusion at King’s College Hospital to manage his sickle cell anemia.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, sickle cell anemia is an inherited illness caused by a genetic flaw that causes red blood cells to form a sickle shape.
The Camberwell native went to the British Consulate for emergency travel documents and a new passport photo. Powell’s eyes are significantly yellow in the current photo. Severe jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, is one apparent indication of the condition.
The man complained to his girlfriend Monique Allen, 30, about “stomach problems” and “struggling to eat” while waiting for his identification to be approved. He died three days after being refused from his flight when she escorted him to the Spanish Town hospital.
According to reports, physicians tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him, and the police classified his death as “sudden death.”
My London, on the other hand, said that the guy died of “apparent organ failure as his health spiraled out of control,” according to his mother.
The family is awaiting the results of the autopsy.
In a corporate statement, the airline expressed its condolences while also outlining its approach to evaluating travel identification.
“We’re devastated to learn of the death of one of our customers, and our sympathies are with his friends and family at this difficult time,” British Airways said in a statement. “All documentation supplied for travel must be valid, as required by law,” says the airline.
“While our airport personnel tried everything they could to assist Mr. Powell, sadly, the photo page of his passport was so extensively damaged that it could no longer be considered a valid travel document,” the statement said.
Sandra Powell, the deceased’s mother, believes the stress of getting his ID approved, which is required for him to return to his country and obtain the necessary transfusion, exacerbated her son’s sickness. She expressed her disbelief, saying that her “kind and compassionate son” had flown to Jamaica on a “regular basis” and had never had any issues.
Powell also took safeguards in case he developed health concerns while on the road. “He had an agreement with his nurse at Kings, as soon as he landed, he would contact her for an appointment and come in to get his transfusion,” she says, adding that he even scheduled a plan for his return procedure.
She described his personality by saying that he would chauffeur her so often that “people assumed he was my partner.” Despite his illness, she claimed he assisted his ailing grandmother.
“My mother has dementia, yet she keeps breaking down when she sees all the flowers,” she explains. “I’m going to have to hide some of the cards so she doesn’t see them.”
Sandra, a Southwark Council officer, claims her son’s passport was only “slightly damaged” and that the personnel may not have recognized him due to the dated passport photo. Powell had gained weight and “grown dreadlocks” since the photo for his passport was taken.
Sandra still believes the airline made a mistake by refusing him passage, adding, “They had no right to take control of my son’s life.”
Powell had additional documentation with him besides his passport, and the photograph on his U.K. driving license matched the rejected official trip booklet.