Woman sues Disney for ‘gynecologic injuries’ allegedly caused by waterslide

FILE - Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., has been sued by a woman who allegedly suffered serious 'gynecologic injuries' after riding the Humunga Kowabunga waterslide in the park's Typhon Lagoon. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., has been hit with a lawsuit from a woman claiming she suffered serious “gynecologic injuries” after riding a waterslide in the park’s Typhoon Lagoon area.

Emma McGuinness, 33, and her husband on Wednesday sued the Disney amusement park for US$50,000 (nearly C$68,550) in damages, according to the Washington Post.

In the lawsuit filed in Orange County, Fla., McGuinness said the 214-foot (over 65 metres) waterslide, called Humunga Kowabunga, caused her an “injurious wedgie” that damaged her internal organs.

The incident occurred on Oct. 14, 2019, when McGuinness and her family visited the park to celebrate her 30th birthday. As part of the trip, McGuinness chose to ride Humunga Kowabunga — a popular thrill-seeking attraction that sees brave riders plunge five storeys in darkness through a massive body slide at a 60-degree angle.

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A long canal of water is meant to slow the landing of riders as they reach the bottom of Humunga Kowabunga; instead, McGuinness said, the flume of standing water “painfully forced” her one-piece bathing suit into her body.

Walt Disney World has not commented publicly on the legal filing.

Though McGuinness said she rode the slide in the proper position with her ankles crossed underneath her body, she became airborne toward the end of the ride. The impact of landing on the slide allegedly pushed the swimsuit fabric between her legs and “violently forced” a rush of water inside her body.

“She experienced immediate and severe pain internally and, as she stood up, blood began rushing from between her legs,” the lawsuit reads.

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McGuinness was brought to hospital. There, doctors discovered she suffered “severe and permanent bodily injury including severe vaginal lacerations.” The injuries included “a full thickness laceration” that caused McGuinness’s “bowel to protrude through her abdominal wall.”

Some of McGuinness’ injuries were serious enough to require surgery.

The lawsuit purports Disney World should have known the risk of the painful “wedgies” caused by Humunga Kowabunga, especially for women. Through her lawyers, McGuinness argued the park had “breached its duties of reasonable care” and should have provided protective clothing, such as shorts, for riders.

McGuinness and her husband are also suing Disney World for “loss of consortium,” a type of legal damage that refers to an injury that caused a loss in one’s personal relationship.

In the lawsuit, Edward McGuinness said he lost “his wife’s care, comfort, consortium, support and services” as a result of the incident.

Emma and Edward McGuinness have requested a jury trial.

Humunga Kowabunga is the fastest and steepest waterslide at Walt Disney World. The Typhoon Lagoon water park first opened in 1989.

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