Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Recently, a alcoholic New York woman, Carol Gotbaum, traveled alone and wound up at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport waiting to connect to a flight to a Tucson rehab. While at the airport, Gotbaum went into a bar and drank. Not a surprise. What was surprising is that she was ALONE on a cross-country trip and freaked out after drinking. She was detained by Sky Harbor police and placed in a holding cell. Unfortunately, that cell had no cameras to monitor her. Gotbaum was left alone in handcuffs for a few minutes and was found dead. Her grieving husband quickly lawyered up and went on a crusade to find out why she was left by herself in her condition. He had called the airport many times to warn them of her condition, but AFTER she was already dead. Who is responsible here? The police or Gotbaum (and in turn her family)? In my experience with addiction, well documented in this blog, she should never have been allowed to travel cross-country alone to go to rehab. NEVER! While I sympathize with her condition and her family's sorrow, they have only themselves to blame. The airport police had no idea of her plight (Gotbaum was reportedly incoherent), and followed procedure. Sky Harbor should, however, install cameras in their holding areas if they haven't done so already.