Latham woman gets sick at Dominican Republic resort

June 18, 2019 06:35 PM

Rena Ost and Mark Kreugler had been planning a dream vacation to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana for over a year. At first, Rena says the trip was wonderful with great weather and fun activities. However, the last two days of their trip quickly changed their opinion and she now calls the trip a vacation from hell.

"I had diarrhea, vomiting, a headache I can't even really describe, and then I was having back muscle spasms, body aches," said Rena.

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That was at 2:15 a.m. on April 25, their last morning at the resort. The day before, Mark's 13-year-old daughter had been treated for a very bad case of bug bites.

"She was covered. She was itchy. It was miserable," said Rena.

Rena says the hotel's doctor told them Paige had chicken pox and ordered the family to take her to a hospital emergency room, saying they wouldn't be cleared to fly home until she was diagnosed. Rena says Paige had been vaccinated and they didn't believe it was chicken pox.

Five hours later and after a $500 bill Rena says an ER doctor confirmed it was bug bites. At the time, they felt the ordeal was a nuisance. However, after learning of numerous deaths at this and other area resorts, as well as hundreds of people reportedly falling ill, Rena is now questioning the medical staff's judgement.

Dominican officials have called the incidents isolated.

"Doctors are saying it's a heart attack without an autopsy. Well, yep, doctor said chicken pox and it was bug bites," said Rena.

This week, it was discovered that a New Jersey man had died at the same hotel just two days before their arrival. Rena hopes her stories and all of the others will prompt Dominican and U.S. officials to fully investigate.

"Something's got to give. They can't just hand out blanket statements, we take this serious. I mean, is it the same chicken pox doctor that's looking into it? Cause that's no good," said Rena.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for comment. They have not responded.


Jacquie Slater

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