15-Year-Old Argentinian Tourist Wakes up From Coma After She’s Hospitalized in Dominican Republic

By Isabel van Brugen

A 15-year-old Argentinian tourist has woken up from a coma after falling unconscious while visiting the Dominican Republic, according to reports.

While staying at a Punta Cana resort, teen Candela Saccone reportedly fell ill from what officials said was a life-threatening diabetic condition, according to Argentinian news outlet Cronica.

Saccone’s ventilator was removed last week after she was suddenly hospitalized on June 19, complaining of vomiting, dizziness, and dehydration on the day she was set to travel back home to Argentina, according to the New York Post.

She was later sent to the General Hospital of the Plaza de la Salud in Santo Domingo, where she was reported to be in critical condition, reported CNN.

The Dominican Minister of Health met with Saccone’s family on June 23 before telling CNN that she was “under control in a high-quality hospital center.”

Family members told Cronica that after three days in the hospital, the girl’s health showed signs of improvement and she had her ventilator removed.

Saccone’s grandmother, Mónica Zanollo, told the outlet, “When they told us that she said a few words and got annoyed when they spoke to her, I said, ‘That’s my granddaughter!’”

“This breakthrough means that the doctors are doing things well and the progress is very important for us,” Zanollo said.

“The truth is that the hospital staff have taken excellent care of the family, both at a medical level and at a human level,” she added.

The teen’s family hopes she can return home when she recovers.

Dominican Republic Deaths

The health scare comes as at least 12 American tourists have passed away under suspicious circumstances in the last 12 months in the Caribbean tourist hotspot. Visitors have reported falling mysteriously ill.

A 78-year-old retired police officer from Ohio passed away while visiting the Dominican in January, his family said.

Jerry Curran died on Jan. 26, after checking into the Dreams Resort in Punta Cana with his wife Janet on Jan. 22, family members told WKYC 3.

After having a meal and drinks on their first night in the country, Curran complained he felt unwell and spent most of his time the following couple of days resting in bed.

On his third day at the Punta Cana resort, he began to vomit and was unresponsive. He was rushed to hospital, put on a ventilator and underwent surgery, but reportedly passed away eight hours later.

Alarm bells rang for his daughter, Kellie Brown, when the family saw the causes of her father’s death listed on his death certificate: Cerebral hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen to the brain; pulmonary edema, which is excess fluid in the lungs; subdural hematoma, meaning a collection of blood outside the brain; and severe encephalitic cranial trauma, which is a traumatic brain injury.

Brown told the New York Post she asked an emergency physician to review her father’s X-ray and CT scan, who told her a pulmonary edema would not be enough to be a direct cause of death.

In a statement, the Dreams Punta Cana resort told WKYC 3 it had “no evidence that this unfortunate incident was the result of anything other than natural causes.”

Symptoms ‘Consistent with Poisoning’

A doctor has said that the symptoms reported in the tourists who mysteriously died in the Dominican Republic are “consistent with poisoning.”

Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Tom Inglesby, told The New York Times that reported symptoms such as pulmonary edema, bleeding, and vomiting blood could point to poisoning, even if accidental.

He added that it is still difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused the deaths of the tourists, and the exact reason will only be known when toxicology reports are available.

The FBI and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating the causes of the deaths.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.