WORLD
30/01/2019 6:37 AM AEDT | Updated 31/01/2019 9:34 AM AEDT

Mother Carrying Baby In Stroller Dies After Falling Down NYC Subway Stairs

The death of 22-year-old Malaysia Goodson spotlights the New York subway system’s slew of accessibility issues.

UPDATE: Jan. 30 ― New York City’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, said in a statement on Wednesday that the young mother likely did not die from the impact caused by falling down subway station stairs.

“While the cause of death is pending in this case, we can state that there is no significant trauma, and this fatality appears to be related to a pre-existing medical condition,” Sampson said.

PREVIOUSLY:

A 22-year-old mother died Monday when she fell down the stairs at a New York City subway station while carrying a stroller with her baby in it, officials said.

Police responded to the accident and found Malaysia Goodson unconscious inside the Seventh Avenue subway station in Midtown Manhattan shortly before 8 p.m. Goodson was on the southbound platform and her 1-year-old daughter was nearby, according to a statement released by the New York Police Department.

Medical personnel transported Goodson, of Stamford, Connecticut, to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her daughter was treated at the scene and is now with relatives, an NYPD spokesperson told HuffPost.

The medical examiner’s office will determine Goodson’s cause of death. A representative for the office declined to comment on the matter.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the New York subway system, said the agency is conducting a full investigation of the incident in coordination with the NYPD and the medical examiner’s office.

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy,” the MTA said in a statement.

Malaysia’s brother, Dieshe Goodson, told Connecticut News 12 that his sister had been shopping in Manhattan with her cousin and was carrying a lot of bags as well as her daughter in the stroller when she fell down the stairs. He described his sister as outgoing and someone who loved to laugh.

Goodson’s death highlights the slew of accessibility issues plaguing New York’s subway system.

An MTA spokesman said a preliminary investigation found the stairs, railings and floor of the Seventh Avenue station in “good condition.” But the station ― which serves the B, D and E subway lines ― does not offer elevator access and it has two ascending escalators only.

Only a quarter of the city’s 472 stations have elevators, The New York Times reported. Some 26 additional stations have been funded and are on track to become fully accessible, an MTA spokesman said.

The MTA has undertaken several initiatives to address accessibility issues, including a plan to ensure New Yorkers will be no more than two stops away from an accessible station within five years, an MTA spokesman said. In June, the organization hired its first-ever accessibility chief.

But the changes aren’t coming fast enough for many struggling to use the city’s mass transit system. Disability advocates shut down a panel in April at the Museum of the City of New York featuring then-MTA chairman Joe Lhota to demand that subway officials devote more resources to accessibility needs.

As HuffPost reported in October, most subway stations lack elevators, ramps, and visual and audible indicators that allow everyone to garner basic information, including schedule changes. 

Sarah Maslin Nir, the journalist who moderated the April panel, tweeted about Goodson’s death.

“What will it take for NYC to respond to this crisis of accessibility?” she wrote. 

New York City Councilman Keith Powers, who represents an area that includes the Seventh Avenue station, called on the MTA to commit to making its stations more accessible.

“The loss of Malaysia Goodson is a tragedy,” Powers said. “I am urging the MTA to commit to make stations accessible as they embark on new projects, including the L train reconstruction. We must take every opportunity we can to improve access for all, be it those who use wheelchairs, have strollers, or need help getting around.” 

This story has been updated with comments from Malaysia Goodson’s brother and New York City Councilman Keith Powers.