The families of three Americans who died for unknown reasons at a Sandals Resort in the Bahamas want to get to the bottom of what happened. They’re asking for a second autopsy after the first one failed to procure a cause of death.
On May 6, three United States citizens died in their villa at the all-inclusive resort. The victims are Michael and Robbie Phillips, 68 and 65 respectively, and Vincent Chiarella, 64. The Phillips were from Tennessee and Mr. Chiarella was a Florida resident.
Mr. Chiarella’s 65-year-old wife, Donnis, is currently at a hospital in Miami. Her condition is currently stable.
The original autopsy shows no signs of trauma but does show signs of convulsion. Additionally, two of the tourists were seen for signs of nausea and vomiting at a local Bahaman hospital the previous night, and subsequently were discharged.
Dr. Marc Siegel tells Fox News that one possibility could be freon poisoning. One of the guests at the Sandals resort was allegedly talking about refrigerant leaks. Dr. Siegel says that freon poisoning can cause esophageal burning, the lungs to fill with fluid, nausea, vomiting, and seizures. He says that oxygen is the primary treatment for freon poisoning.
However, Dr. Siegel elaborates that one of the family members of the deceased says that their loved one was paralyzed. Dr. Siegel likens this symptom to the result of a neurotoxin.
Apparently, there were 153 cases of Ciguatera fish poisoning in the Bahamas last year. Dr. Siegel explains that Ciguatera can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures, and other neurological symptoms such as paralysis.
He continues, “I’m not saying it’s that, either. But I’m trying to paint a picture of what they’re going to be looking for. Was it something out the air conditioner? Was it something out of something they ate, like a fish toxin? Was it something in the mini bar? They’re going to scan the room for all of this. And finally… they’re going to look at the patient who survived… It sure sounds like a toxin, like a poison, but not an intentional one.”
Dr. Siegel points out that it probably wasn’t appropriate that the tourists were sent home from the hospital that previous evening.
Dr. Michael Baden has a different opinion on the first autopsy. He tells Fox News that the most likely cause was carbon monoxide poisoning. Because oxygen can help with carbon monoxide poisoning, Dr. Baden thinks that the tourists likely would have felt better from leaving their villa. Hence, when they arrived at the hospital, their symptoms weren’t as bad, and they were sent back. Once back, they could have been re-poisoned, likely via ventilation ducts.
Bahamas Minister of Health and Wellness Michael Darville states that, “The toxicology reports are still outstanding. There were requests by family members of the deceased to bring in a pathologist from abroad to do another autopsy… They’re still some investigations ongoing at the Sandals resort. We also have the pathologists in-country who have done their job and samples were sent to a very reliable lab in the United States.”
The Bahamas Police Commissioner is in the process of interviewing other U.S.-based travelers who might have any extra information pertaining to the tragedy. Further, some vacationers reportedly complained of a strong smell of insecticide in the resort.
The families of the victims have asked for a pathologist from abroad to carry out the second autopsy.