Medical equipment, post-surgery meds lost by Frontier Airlines, woman says

St. Johns County woman has been waiting 5 days to receive charger for implant

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A woman in St. Johns County, who recently underwent surgery, said an airline lost her luggage containing medical equipment and medication intended to help with her recovery.

Debra Caravella said she has suffered from chronic neck and back pain for years. Recently, she traveled to California for a neuro-stimulator surgery. The procedure involved a stimulator and wires implanted in her back to ease her pain.

"If I could take 50 percent less pills and be in 50 percent less pain I'd be a happy camper," Caravella said.

After the surgery, she flew Frontier Airlines from San Jose, California, to Austin, Texas, before returning to Jacksonville. At some point during her trip, her bags -- which included a charger required to power the implant in her back -- were misplaced.

"My medications I've been on for years, (which) you can't just stop taking, that's all in there," Caravella said.

Caravella said she doesn't think Frontier Airlines is concerned.

"Just get it to me, get my bag here," Caravella said. "They don't care. I've been hung up on, I've been told calm down -- no, I'm not going to calm down."

Caravella's husband, Dr. Phillip Caravella, is a family physician. He said he knows from experience the risks that come with surgery.

"In this case, infections that could involve her nervous system," Dr. Phillip Caravella said. "You don’t want to repeat this again, especially since she had four procedures that took place to finalize where we are."

By Thursday night, her bag was returned with the charger for the implant included. However, the charger for the remote that controls the implant was still missing.

Early Thursday evening, Jonathan Freed, director of corporate communications for Frontier Airlines, sent News4Jax the following statement: 

Frontier prides itself on running a safe, efficient, and reliable airline. Sometimes, as happens in this industry, things do not go as planned. In this case, it took longer than it should have for our business partner that runs the baggage operation to locate the passenger’s checked bag. The bag has been located and is now in final transit to our customer and will arrive today by special delivery. We are investigating to learn why this occurred so that we can take corrective action. We deeply regret that this baggage delay occurred and have apologized to our customer for the inconvenience this situation has caused. We have also provided a full refund.“

 Caravella is now in the process of filing a claim for the missing equipment from her bag. She also plans to file a lawsuit.

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