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Woman removed from plane after employees mistakenly believed she had Monkeypox

Spirit Airlines Hurricanes
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

A California woman is claiming that she and her wife were pulled off of a plane because staff members believed she had monkeypox. 

The incident occurred on a Spirit Airlines flight.

In a TikTok video, the woman identified as Jacqueline Nguyen explained how humiliated she was:

“They had me get off the plane in front of everyone along with my wife to interrogate me about the eczema I’ve had my whole life. They asked me to provide medical documents and told my wife to watch her attitude. I’ve never been so humiliated in my life.”

Nguyen and her wife were eventually able to get back on the plane after she showed the staff members a prescription cream for her eczema. 

Nguyen told reporters that she is grateful that she had her cream on her but that she does not believe she should be required to carry around proof of her skin condition. 

“I’m very lucky I happened to bring my eczema cream that day, but we shouldn’t have to tote around evidence,” she posted, adding: “This has happened to other people who were not so lucky to have anything with them as ‘proof.'”

She also told the New York Post that she may be seeking a lawsuit against the airline so that they better train their employees to identify skin conditions.

 Healthcare attorney Harry Nelson told NewsNation that in order to sue to company, Nguyen would have to prove that the airline acted irresponsibly in pulling her off of the plane:

“The airlines have a right to express concerns about a possibly contagious condition and to ask patients for medical certification if there’s reason to believe that they are sick,” he said. “The question here is really whether Spirit behaved reasonably and whether it was possible to mistake the passenger’s eczema, in this case, for monkeypox.”

According to the CDC, monkeypox is highly contagious and can spread through :

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.

Monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency in the United States. The emergency declaration frees up federal funds and resources to combat the outbreak.