US Couple Were Treated with Normal Saline Drip: Nurse

The US couple who succumbed to a mysterious illness last week were just treated with normal saline drip says the nurse who came first in contact with the patients.

The couple were being treated at Zen’s Medical Centre, a private clinic based in Nadi, when they gave into their demise.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun, she said that she and another nurse colleague of hers from the same private medical clinic were among the five patients admitted at the Nadi Hospital and were undergoing aggressive fluid and antibiotic therapy and being observed by Ministry of Health of Fiji, World Health Organization and US Centre for Disease Control.

David and Michelle Paul were supposed to be on the trip of a lifetime, halfway around the world in Fiji. But the Fort Worth couple died suddenly and unexpectedly, and their family back in the U.S. is now coping with a tragic loss.

David Paul, an Air Force veteran, and his wife Michelle were raising a 2-year-old son in Fort Worth. The couple took a holiday in Fiji where they faced a mysterious virus which United States Centre of Disease Control, Ministry of Health Fiji and the World Health Organization have not been able to identify.

Five Fijian citizens were also kept under observation by MOH Fiji, WHO and CDC after the five showed symptoms of unknown illness. The locals were believed to be two security guard, two medical staff nurses where Mr and Mrs Paul were seen and a Police Officer.

While the four have been discharged, one of the two nurses involved in the care of Mr and Mrs Paul spoke to the Sun on the basis of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

She told the Sun that she was on duty on the 25th of May when the couple were brought in a buggy from their hotel room to Zen’s Medical Centre at around 8am.

“My colleague and I were the first ones to see the couple and they had symptoms similar to fever such as vomitting, diarrhoea and weakness and they were treated and wanted to go back to where they stayed,” she told Fiji Sun.

She added that they administered normal saline drip. The couple stayed until about midday when they were taken back to their hotel room.

At 5.30 pm the Mrs Paul was brought back to the centre because she had collapsed in her room, the nurse said. She was dead when she reached the clinic.

Mr Paul was in shock. The doctors at the centre suggested that he be transferred to Lautoka Hospital where he was kept in Intensive Care Unit and later died on 28th of May.

The nurse also told the Sun that after she had seen the couple, she started experiencing similar symptoms and a few hours after being treated at the medical clinic, they were transferred to Nadi Hospital.

She said they were administered probably nine to 10 litres of fluid through drips and received medications every six hours.

Meanwhile in a press release yesterday the Ministry of Health says while the investigations into the cause of death are ongoing, Ministry of Health, Centre for Disease Control and World Health organization has ruled out Influenza as the cause of the death of two US couple.

Ministry of Health says at this stage we do not believe there is any risk to the public.

“It would be premature to speculate further on the cause of death until the investigation is complete.”

The authorities continue to monitor a small number of staff and health workers who came into close contact with the deceased couple.

All are close contact personnel are currently well.

The Ministry is coordinating with the US Embassy in Fiji and working closely with the Fiji Police Force’s forensics department, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine the cause of death, with these organizations providing technical support.

David Paul was an Air Force veteran and a Lockhead Martin Engineer, and his wife Michelle were raising a 2-year-old son in Fort Worth.

While speaking to WFAA TV, the family said that the couple, who loved to travel, tried to get away on trips with just each other annually and had been planning a journey to Fiji for some time.

“They were planning an amazing vacation,” said Tracey Calanog, sister-in-law to the couple through her husband, who is Michelle Paul’s brother.

Calanog said the day before they were scheduled to return home to the U.S., relatives got the call.

“They knew something was going on in their body and were able to get to the hospital,” Calanog said.

While the cause of death remains under investigation, family said that early indications point to some type of virus that was strong enough to debilitate two healthy, young people, David who was a Former Air Force member and Michelle, a former student athlete.  

“Very physically fit. Former Air Force. Former student-athlete,” Calanog said in an Skype interview with WFAA TV .

Michelle Paul apparently died first. There were plans to transport David to Australia for further treatment, but he died before that could happen.

A U.S. Department of State official confirmed the deaths of Michelle and David Paul in Fiji and offered condolences to the family. They are monitoring the investigation by local authorities.


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