‘An emotional rollercoaster’: Woman dies almost year after fall at Fort Lauderdale airport
A 25-year-old woman died nearly a year after sustaining life-altering injuries while boarding a plane at a South Florida airport.
Gabrielle Assouline was critically injured last February when she fell out of a wheelchair before getting on a plane. Assouline, who required wheelchair assistance due to a genetic condition that affected her muscles, died Jan. 22 after battling her injuries at Broward Health Medical Center for 11 months.
Her mother, Sandra Assouline, regularly posted updates about Assouline’s condition on her GoFundMe page. On Jan. 24, Sandra announced her daughter’s passing, writing that loved ones were at her bedside until her final moments. They cried, prayed and shared stories.
“Gaby’s life was tragically interrupted 11 months ago but she put up the greatest fight with grace, friends, laughter and the strong belief that she would leave the hospital and come home very soon,” Sandra said. “Unfortunately, complications robbed Gaby of that ending.”
Assouline was making her first solo trip — flying to Denver out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport — when she was injured while passing over a junction at the jet bridge. The Assoulines sued Southwest Airlines and G2 Secure Staff, a contractor that provides passenger wheelchair assistance, last March, alleging negligence and seeking damages beyond $100,000, according to court records.
“Their agents owed her the highest duty of care,” family attorney Robert C. Solomon told NBC6. “And they completely failed her.”
The family’s updates on GoFundMe shared a glimpse into Assouline’s progress and the toll the accident took on loved ones.
“Our family situation has so dramatically changed and every day is a cause for despair or for a glimmer of hope,” father Felix Assouline said. “All of us have been on an emotional rollercoaster and sadly, we can’t get off.”
But their updates also showed how the family held onto their faith — and held out hope that Assouline would make a full recovery. Assouline faced challenges before the accident, Sandra said in a post, but she still created art, spent hours tending to her garden and crocheted clothing.
“There was a lot of hope,” Sandra told NBC6 after her daughter’s death. “If you have hope, you have everything.”
And Gaby, Sandra said, had hope.