Boeing whistleblower from Kansas is 2nd to die in past 2 months

A second Boeing whistleblower has died unexpectedly as the company faces scrutiny over safety failures on its passenger jets.

Joshua Dean, a quality inspector for the Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, died this week after a surprise infection left him in critical condition for days, according to his family.

The cause was Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an antibiotic resistant staph infection commonly known as MRSA, his aunt Carol Parsons told The Seattle Times, which first reported the death.

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Boeing whistleblower Joshua Dean pictured in an undated family photo. The 44-year-old succumbed to an anti-biotic. (Jenny Dean/Facebook)

The 44-year-old lost his job in 2023 and filed a retaliation complaint with federal labor officials, alleging that he was only fired for speaking out.

Dean had been deposed in connection with a shareholder lawsuit and had reported dangerous faults in components of Boeing’s 737 MAX plane – a model linked to a number of catastrophes in recent years.

The family shared in a Facebook post Monday that doctors warned them Dean had a "50/50 chance of living."

In describing the agonizing condition, they revealed the infection had "totally" taken over his lungs and asked for prayers. Days before his death, doctors were considering amputating his hands and feet, but he was too weak for surgery.

Dean’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Signage outside the Boeing Co. manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington, US, on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. Boeing Co. found more mistakes with holes drilled in the fuselage of its 737 Max jet, a setback that could further slow deliveries on a critical (David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

He was being represented by the same law firm that was working for John Barnett, another Boeing whistleblower who police in Charleston, South Carolina, found dead of a gunshot wound outside his hotel the day after he gave a deposition in connection with his own retaliation lawsuit in March.

Barnett, 62, was suing Boeing, claiming that he had been retaliated against, harassed and spied on by the company. He never showed up for his second day of depositions earlier this month.

His lawyers started making calls, and hotel workers found him dead in the parking lot.

This past January, Barnett told TMZ that he was concerned that Boeing was returning its 737 Max 9 jets to the sky too quickly, after the incident in which an Alaska Airlines jet's door panel blew off mid-flight.

Boeing has struggled with safety concerns about its 737 Max airplanes.

CEO Dave Calhoun announced that he would step down at the end of the year. Other executives, including the head of the 737 Max program, and board members are also leaving the company amid the fallout.

Barnett said he had learned of the issue while working at Boeing's North Charleston plant in 2010 and claimed to have raised the issue with management, but to no avail. Instead of tackling the issue, his lawyers allege, the company retaliated against him and subjected him to a hostile work environment, leading to the lawsuit for which he was being deposed.

The Federal Aviation Administration reviewed Boeing in 2017, corroborated some of Barnett's allegations and ordered the company to take action.


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