Dominican Republic mystery: 15-year-old Argentinian girl goes into coma after falling sick while on vacation in country
A teenager from Argentina fell violently sick before going into a coma while holidaying in the Dominican Republic, becoming the latest victim in the string of illnesses that are affecting tourists in the Caribbean nation.
15-year-old Candela Saccone was scheduled to return to her native Argentina from Punta Cana on June 19 after traveling to the country earlier in the week but felt seriously unwell the morning of travel, according to the New York Post.
Her mother said Saccone had fallen sick the night before their departure.
She revealed her daughter lost her appetite and was suffering extreme discomfort in her throat that left her with the inability to even swallow.
The 15-year-old was rushed to a local hospital displaying symptoms of dizziness, dehydration, and vomiting, with doctors suggesting she was suffering from a life-threatening diabetic condition.
Saccone was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that is described as a "serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones" and develops in the patient when their "body can’t produce enough insulin."
The diagnosis has been questioned by the teen's family, who insisted that she had no history of diabetes and that she led a healthy, normal life prior to the sudden illness that befell her.
Following the diagnosis, Saccone was reportedly transported from Punta Cana to the General Hospital of the Plaza de la Salud in Santo Domingo because the former "did not have sufficient equipment to treat her."
The Argentine foreign ministry has confirmed the details of Saccone's situation, with Dominican Minister of Health Dr. Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas insisting that she was "under control in a high-quality hospital center."
At least 12 American citizens have died in the past year while vacationing in the country, and preliminary tests performed on several showed they had died of respiratory failure and pulmonary edema.
But Dominican authorities have repeatedly insisted that preliminary or final autopsies indicated they all died of natural causes and each death was an isolated incident.
Cárdenas termed the reports on the deaths as a "setup" that was aimed at "hurting tourism," with Carlos Suero, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, similarly stating that they were seeking to raise "hysteria" against the Caribbean nation.
"People die all over the world," Cárdenas argued. "Unfortunately, very unfortunately for us, these tourists have died here. We had about 14 deaths last year here of US tourists, and no one said a word. Now everyone is making a big deal of these."
"I went to the United States and got an infection in my throat, but luckily I was returning to the Dominican Republic soon after. If I'd died, would I have been right to blame the United States? No."
Saccone is in a coma at the General Hospital of the Plaza de la Salud and is said to be in critical condition, though it was reported on Tuesday, June 25, that she was showing signs of improvement.