Children suing health club over death of parent: Mother was 70 and had heart disease

Children of a 71 year old woman who died in a sauna are suing the fitness club. The deceased had high blood pressure but had been cleared to work out by her physician. She went into the club at 2:30 PM and was discovered in the Sauna at 6:00 PM. The coroner listed the cause of death as cardiovascular disease. The children are claiming the sauna contributed to the death of their mother.

The issue that makes this a “possible” lawsuit is the fitness facility, Silver Sneakers Fitness Program, allegedly advertised itself as a specialty fitness program for adults over the age of 50 The lawsuit claims the health club marketed itself as having a high level of supervision to patrons with medical needs. However a review of the fitness center’s website does not advertise any additional services for older members than any other health club.

The next failure or issue on the part of the health club was the sauna’s thermometer was broken. The temperature was being monitored by a meat thermometer. By the time the police arrived the day of the fatality, the temperature could not be determined because the heat had been turned off. (Is this tampering with evidence or eliminating a risk for rescue personnel? See Canoe rental owner guilty of obstruction in attempt hide facts about drowning – Fear makes you do stupid things.)

Most health clubs have members sign a release. Most members assume a large amount of risk of the activities of a health club. Any person, let alone a 70 year old woman should be aware of medical issues of saunas.

Also battling the plaintiffs is the damages. Damages for wrongful death are based on the lost income over the life of the deceased along with the value of the lost life span of the deceased. A retired 70 year old women has little or no income and if she does have cardiovascular disease a limited lifespan.

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