An Ontario family was devastated losing ‘the rock’ of their household in April, but after at least nine deaths at Dominican Republic resorts over the past year, a woman is now questioning her husband’s sudden death there.
Ursula Schlachter said her husband of more than 60 years died suddenly during their two-week trip there. “It was totally unexpected,” she told CTV Toronto.
Before going on the trip, Schlachter recalled her husband Alois recently had a check-up and received a “perfect clean bill of health,” with the doctor telling him to “go enjoy yourself.”
In the first week, the Grimsby, Ont. couple did just that. The couple ate at several local restaurants and even swam in the ocean. But during the second week, she said “all of a sudden, (he) had a mini-stroke.”
Adding insult to injury, after she called the emergency number, Schlachter said they were left waiting because there was no medical staff on site. But once he was taken to the hospital, doctors determined he had suffered a burst artery in the brain.
They were then moved to another hospital on the island and eventually scheduled to be transported back to Canada. But two days later, the worst happened.
“During the night, before the ambulance arrived, he had passed away. But they didn’t tell us,” Schlachter said. At the time, the family didn’t think his death was part of any trend.
But there have been nine suspicious American deaths in the country over the past year, according to information from the U.S. State Department, victims' family members and the resorts involved.
Schlachter began questioning the circumstances of his death after the most recently reported case of Joseph Allan from New Jersey, who died of cardiac arrest while vacationing in the Dominican city of Sosua.
The Schlachter family said they‘re now awaiting for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
U.S., Canada not issuing travel warnings related to recent deaths
In the meantime, U.S. officials said they’re currently working with local officials to determine what, if any, connections there are in the recently reported string of deaths.
“We are closely monitoring ongoing investigations by Dominican authorities into several recent deaths of U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic,” a U.S. Department of State official wrote in an email to CTVNews.ca “We offer our sincerest condolences to the families for their losses, and continue to provide all appropriate consular services.
They added the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo has been “actively engaging with Dominican authorities to ensure through and timely investigations.” The official also referred CTVNews.ca to earlier releases from the local U.S. embassy.
“Dominican authorities have asked for FBI assistance for further toxicology analysis on the recent Bahia Principe, La Romana cases,” one statement read. “and our FBI colleagues tell us that those results may take up to 30 days.”
Before this latest case involving a Canadian came to light, Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Guillaume Bérubé told CTVNews.ca that the Canadian government wasn’t issuing a ban or advisory on travel to the Dominican Republic.
But it did recommend Canadian travellers “exercise a high degree of caution in Dominican Republic due to high crime rate.”