PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia couple says they became violently ill at the same Dominican Republic resort where a Lehigh County woman and a Maryland couple died. Doug Hand and his wife, Susie Lauterborn, vacationed at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel from June 14 to June 19 last year.
The South Philadelphia couple says they both got sick from what they initially thought might have been food poisoning.
Lauterborn says she got rashes on her torso, cold sweats, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a temperature over 100 degrees. Hand also got sick but his symptoms were less severe.
“I think it was the second or third day, she was just feeling horrible,” said Hand.
They were never given a diagnosis but a resort doctor gave Lauterborn some pills to take.
Hand recalled a strange smell in his hotel room.
“Like as soon as we got to the room, I noticed a smell. It smelled like a moldy, mildewy dirty air. My wife didn’t smell it but I like picked up on it right away. She started getting symptoms about a day-and-a-half, two days in,” Hand said.
Just weeks ago and a year after this incident, Miranda Schaup, of Allentown, and an engaged Maryland couple died while vacationing at different times at the same resort.
“Maybe there’s something deeper here. It’s really crazy to hear that people had passed away,” Lauterborn said. “I don’t think it’s just limited to those people either. I bet with some further investigating, they’ll find out that way more people that visited that place got sick or even died.”
A statement from the Dominican Republic National police said that an autopsy revealed the Maryland couple had respiratory failure and pulmonary edema, a condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs.
CBS3 reached out to both the U.S. State Department and the resort about the Philadelphia couple’s incident and is still waiting to hear back.
CBS3’s Chantee Lans reports.