This time, a Canadian woman who was staying at the Grand Bahia Principe resort in Punta Cana came forward to say that she got really sick back in 2016 after being exposed to “a strong chemical odor in her room,” which left her having to battle “multiple health problems ever since.”
During a recent interview with CNN, the woman, named Tina Hammell, explained that the smell was so pungent that it woke both her and her husband up from a nap.
“It was so strong that I was burning and coughing, and it was very upsetting,” Hammell explained.
The couple asked the resort to move them to a different room, but she says this made no difference. In fact, her symptoms actually worsened, and she eventually began suffering from severe convulsions.
“I remember my muscles, my hands all turned in and my legs came up, and I was just spasming and I lost consciousness,” she recalls about the horrific incident.
Hammell is just one of a growing number of former Dominican Republican visitors who say they fell mysteriously ill, in some cases requiring hospitalization, after visiting the third-world island. In multiple instances, visitors actually died from their symptoms, a phenomenon that’s garnered global media attention.
The United States Department of State has confirmed that nearly a dozen people, all U.S. citizens, perished while visiting the Dominican Republic in recent years. All but one of these deaths occurred within the past 18 months, authorities have further revealed, including three that occurred just this past May.
Dominican authorities claim that all of the deaths were from “natural causes,” but their strange pattern suggests that this more than likely isn’t the case.
Reports indicate that four of the deaths occurred after tourists suddenly fell critically ill inside their rooms for no apparent reason. In two of the cases, tourists died shortly after consuming beverages from the minibars in their rooms. Another couple was found dead inside their room after they failed to check out, and an employee went to check on them.
Are chemical pesticides killing people in the Dominican Republic?
One couple from Colorado who also stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe resort and fell ill is now suing the resort, alleging that the odor they, too, smelled in their room was the result of chemical pesticides.
What this couple describes in their lawsuit is strikingly similar to what Hammell also claims about the pungent odor she encountered, which has caused lasting damage to her health.
For more news about the damaging effects of pesticide exposure, be sure to check out Pesticide.news.
After Hammell was rushed to a local hospital and held for four days as a result of her chemical encounter, doctors confirmed that she had lesions on her lungs, which is indicative of chemical damage.
“I never had a breathing problem before,” Hammell told reporters about how severely her health has declined in the aftermath of the incident. “I never had asthma, I never smoked, You know, we were healthy.”
In an interview with Fox News Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts public relations head Ivan Alcantara insisted that his company’s facilities are “safe,” adding that he’s confident the injuries and deaths were all induced by “natural causes.” But Dana Barr, a professor at Emory University in Georgia isn’t convinced.
“Some of the earlier cases did seem to be consistent with organophosphate poisoning,” Barr is quoted as saying during an interview with The New York Times (NYT).
Barr added that it’s fully possible for pesticides and other chemicals to directly enter hotel rooms if they’re sprayed near vents and air-conditioning systems that service entire facilities, which is the case at the Grand Bahia Principe resort.
Sources for this article include: