Seventy-eight-year-old Jerry Curran died on Jan. 26, just days after setting foot in the country, family members told WKYC 3.
The former police officer, who worked for the Bedford Police Department for 32 years, and was a bailiff for another decade, checked into the Dreams Resort in Punta Cana with his wife Janet on Jan. 22.
However, 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.
“Three days after he arrived in the Dominican Republic he was dead,” his daughter Kellie Brown told WYKC 3.
She received the tragic news while waiting at the Charlotte, NC, airport for a flight to see her father in the Dominican Republic.
Alarm bells rang for 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.
“My father was a healthy 78-year-old, he took care of himself and I just didn’t think anything like this was possible, but then I started to hear other people’s stories,” Brown told the New York Post.
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Brown said 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.
Curran’s daughter told WKYC 3 she wasn’t sure what could have caused her father to have a brain bleed, but said he had been taking blood thinners.
“He never complained of hitting his head or falling,” she said. “We want to find out what happened and why did he die.”
“One of them is pulmonary edema, which seems to be common in everyone else who’s passed that we’re learning about,” Brown told the Post.
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.”
“We were very sorry to learn of the death of 78-year-old Thomas Jerome ‘Jerry’ Curran earlier this year,” the resort said in a statement.
“During this period, our staff worked very diligently to provide as much comfort and care as possible to the family. I personally visited Mrs. Curran in the hospital to offer comfort and the property provided courtesy accommodations to the family arriving from the U.S. We know how difficult his passing was for his family and friends and our hearts go out to them,” the statement reads.
Dominican Republic Deaths
News of Curran’s sudden death comes as at least 12 American tourists have passed away under suspicious circumstances in the last 12 months in the Caribbean tourist hotspot, many of whom died after drinking from the minibar in their rooms.
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.