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Crowley woman sues Princess Cruises after retired Dallas firefighter husband dies of COVID-19

Michael and Susan Dorety took the cruise in February to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary and say Princess did not the disclose danger beforehand

CROWLEY, Texas — A Tarrant County woman is suing Princess Cruise Line after her husband contracted COVID-19 while on a February cruise and died shortly after in a California hospital.

Susan and Michael Dorety of Crowley decided to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which set sail from San Francisco on February 21.

“We visited all the islands, toured Hawaii,” Susan said Thursday.

It was a cruise Susan said eventually led to the loss of her beloved husband.  

“I’ve lost a lot of my faith in humanity and I’m mad they let it happen. I’m mad it took me over two days to get help,” she said.

Susan said they had no idea there had been suspected COVID-19 cases on the ship’s previous voyage, or that some passengers and crew from that trip remained on board. 

Shortly after learning of the threat while already on board and finishing the trip, Michael fell ill.

“He’s chilled, he’s sweating, he can’t get warm enough, he’s shaking really bad,” she recalled telling the 911 calltaker on the ship.

But she said it took days of calling the ship’s 911 service before a doctor came, and eventually, after he was taken off the ship and hospitalized for 10 days in Oakland, California, Michael passed away. He was 68.

Susan is now suing the cruise line.

A press release from her attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Princess “knowingly exposing her and her husband to the new coronavirus and for preventing her husband from leaving the ship while his health deteriorated, leading him to ultimately die alone days later in a California hospital.”

“The cruise line knew the dangers,” Hardin told WFAA in an interview Thursday. “The public they were serving did not.”

Princess Cruise Line told WFAA they don’t comment on litigation, but went on to say:

“Our response throughout this process has focused on the well-being of our guests and crew within the parameters dictated to us by the government agencies involved and the evolving medical understanding of this new illness.”

Susan said her husband, a retired Dallas firefighter with 39 years experience, never would have let them board the cruise had he known of the threat.

“I’m disappointed he spent his career helping other people, and then when he needed it, he didn’t get it,” she said.

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