A New York medical examiner has indicated that the tragic death of a 22-year-old Black mother may have been the result of a pre-existing condition, exacerbated by the fall she took down a flight of subway stairs.
Malaysia Goodson, 22, fell to her death on Monday while carrying her 1-year-old daughter in a stroller as she cascaded the steps of the 7th Avenue and 53rd street subway station in Manhattan. Her death has sparked outrage over the lack of accessibility in subway stations, an issue heightened by several community advocates and a previous lawsuit against the city’s transit system.
And while Goodson’s official cause of death has yet to be determined, Dr. Barbara Sampson, the city’s chief medical examiner, shared that Goodson’s death indicated “no significant trauma, and this fatality appears to be related to a pre-existing medical condition,” in a statement to NBC News.
Goodson, a resident of Hartford, Connecticut, was believed to be visiting a cousin in the city when she entered the station in the evening hours, right before 8 p.m. After the fall, first responders found her unresponsive and rushed her to Mt. Sinai West Hospital for medical care. Her daughter was found underneath her body, but did not suffer any critical wounds and remains in the care of her father.
Goodson’s family said she complained of a headache prior to her fall and suffered from a thyroid issue in an interview with the New York Post on Thursday.
Criticism remains around the idea that no Good Samaritan was willing or able to help Goodson down the stairs. While that can not be confirmed, it was a hot topic in many comment sections with both sexes staunchly divided over chivalry and civility.
Only a quarter of the city’s subway stations have elevators, an issue that was made more pressing after Goodson’s untimely death. New York state senator Jessica Ramos urged the MTA to look into provisions.
“The conditions of our train stations are a life-threatening issue. We need increased accessibility in every station,” she wrote. “That means elevators and escalators that service both directions.”
“The subway system is not accessible for everyone and that’s an environment the MTA should not allow,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Tuesday.
An MTA spokesperson said that the subway station’s stairs were found in good condition after an investigation and reiterated the transit chief’s plans to add 50 elevators to subway stations over the next five years.
But it cannot be understated that in the wake of reform and a speedy call to action, a family is without their daughter and a little girl must now grow up without her mother.