Back from Eastern New Years Cruise left family behind in St. Thomas hospital


Earning My Ears
Jan 4, 2003
hello everyone, I just wanted to share our experience with sickness at sea. We sailed on the disney magic Dec. 28- Jan. 4. seas were rough for a few days. A family member became sick with vomiting we thought she was seasick. She continued to get worse and became dehydrated. She was seen by the ships' doctor because she couldn't catch her breath. They couldn't control her breathing so she was admitted to the St. Thomas hospital. Currently she is unconcious (drug induced) and on a ventilator, and they can find no reason for her rapid breathing. Her father had to stay behind with her. He told us that he was staying in a hotel with no running water and sleeping on a straw mat and paying $100.00 per day in cash. Her son went to the medical center while onboard complaining of an upset stomach. He was quararented for one day. Actually, he had too much to drink the night before, but they made him stay in his room. On our last night our room steward was quaranted for illness. We observed three people throwing up and heard of many complaints of stomach aches. Other than that we tried to have a good vacation, the disney staff was very helpful and kept us in contact with the hospital so we could have daily updates.
Oh God that is terrible.I hope she gets well soon.Did she have trip insurance?Is she not stable enough to fly to the states?
Here is some pixie dust for her.
That is terrible that her father is in such terrible conditions for $100 a day. Unfortuneatly in other areas of the world the accomations are not as nice, also in resort areas you pay a premium. We just booked our summer vacation at cape cod and and that is not in the caribbean. For 100 a night at the cape you don't get much either, a dumpy place far from the beach with no amenities. We ended up paying a bit over $500 PER NIGHT for five nights, so be aware that in prime areas you need to pay a prime price!

This is the first I have heard of someone getting so seriously ill, my guess (based on NO facts- just my guess) is that their was something else wrong with the woman in question other that "Norwalk like virus". If she had a comprimized immune system and was hit extra hard, I feel bad for her but everyone is warned in advance.

On two of our past three cruises we have had medical emergency evacuations so unfortuneatly bad things DO happen to good people, I remember two years ago having to stop off of San Salvadore for someone to be med-evac'd. It does happen.
Yes she had trip insurance and at this time she is unable to travel. At this time the doctors do not know the cause of her illness, but I will update when I hear more information. Prior to the cruise she was in good health.
This sounds like an awful situation. Parkaroo I noticed you are new to the DISboards with this post being your 1st? How did to come to learn about this great place after your cruise?
Hope your family member gets back to feeling better real soon.
I have been reading this site for over a year. I decided to post our situation because I felt it had useful information to the readers of the disboards. With all the controversy concerning quararnting passengers and the sickness on board the ship. I was especially concerned after reading about 4nana's experience before we left to cruise and then my newphew was quaranted without being sick. We travel to disney world a lot and this was our second cruise on the disney magic. I love this site and it has provided me with a huge amount of useful information to make planning for our vacations easier.
So very sorry ~ what an awful experience for your family. :(

Have they been in touch with her US doctor at all? Is there any improvement in her condition? I pray she will be strong enough where she and her Dad can to be flown to the states very soon. We will surely keep her in our thoughts and prayers ^i^. Pls. keep us informed.
This is indeed awful. We just returned from the cruise as well. Yes, the seas were very rough, but I didn't notice too many people getting sick. I know one of the entertainment staff got sick and had to be quaranteened for 24 hours.

One morning after on the cruise we dropped my DS off at Oceaneers club then went to enjoy a rare wind free sunny day on deck. Two hours later we were paged saying my son had thrown up. My DW took him to the medical center. I went back to the cabin and immediately there was a message from the health center asking Matthew to come in. (My wife got ahead of them) My DS does this alot, eats too fast at breakfast, gets too excited (they were doing a Buzz thing in oceaneers and he couldn't wait to get there)., then launches. We told the doctor this. He told us to quarantine him for 12 hours. We kept him on the veranda....two hours later he's saying he's hungry...he eats lunch without incident. In short, he was fine. We called the next day to get him released for Castaway Cay. They were reluctant to do so...moreover, they wanted to charge us for the health center visit. Well, if this had happened at home we certainly would not have taken him to the doctor, so I didn't see the need to do so here. This is DCL's policy so they should eat the cost. Now, if I was having symptoms I could not explain then I would certainly go to the health center and have no problems paying. So, I requested that the doctor release my son and they also waive the charges as my son was without incident for almost 20 hours now. They balked. I said, "Well, you know, it's quite curious that my son got sick right after breakfast. I wonder if he didn't have a bout of minor food poisoning. Perhaps the bacon is bad? We certainly wouldn't want that rumor getting out now would we?". My son was subsequently cleared and the charges waived. On top of that, Disney did say we could get reimbursed for our quaranteened day (via trip insurance). All in all, it was great cruise. Disney really does do the right thing.
I am glad to hear your son was released from quarentine so quickly. (although I am sure it did not seem quick to him or you.)

In Disney's defense though I can understand why they would want him held for 12 hours. They have no way of knowing if his vomiting is a common occurance or not. (some people may not be truthful to avoid a quarentine)

It seems reasonable to keep someone on hold for 12 hours as if they indeed had NLV surely there would be more episodes, if they were only over stimulated (whether it be from too much food, drink, konk coolers, waves etc) they would not continue to be ill. 12 hours compared to the 48 4nana was quarentined for or the 72 others were subjected to seems very reasonable to me.

Disney does have a responsibility to protect other passangers from a potential hazard. And although your son has had excited vomiting in the past it would be possible that he had contracted the virus and only time would tell what the episode was from. They would be negligent if they allowed him right back into the kids club where he could infect others had he actually been contagious. And yes, as parents we often can tell when are children are truely ill or not, but not all parents are forthright and/or responsible. It is a sad fact that in today's world you can not trust many people on their word and even corporations sometimes can not risk giving people the benifit of the doubt. Too many other people are waiting in line for them to err and file suit.

(imagine if a child was actually infected, but the parents did not want him/her quarentined so they lied and said it was common for him. The child re-enters the general population and infects 50 other children. Those parents find out the ill child was allowed out and sue disney for negligence.)

It is so unfortunate that you had to resort to threats of food poisoning rumers to get them to comp your med visit. I think that it should be standard practice in these cases for med fees to be waived.
I am glad that your trip insurance will cover your quarentined day. I would have liked to see Disney do it themselves since they imposed the quarentine. Even if it was in the form of ship board credit.
Glad to hear the rest of the trip was good!
I had no problem with the 12 hour quarantine. I very much understand their postion and I was all for having him taken out of circulation for the day---I, too, wanted to monitor him. However, I was getting very strong signals from them that they wanted him quarantined for 72 hours when it was obvious to even the most lay medical person that he was completely fine after 24 hours. If he had continued being sick throughout the day I would have sided with them. However, initially they seemed bent on keeping to their 72 hour policy.

I didn't actually resort to threats...I simply mention in passing that there might be the possiblity that the food made him sick...given that he was fine after getting it out of his system. They were the ones that put 2 and 2 together and saw where I might have been going. :smooth:

You get a very good deal when you are quarantined. If possible I would plan to get sick on a rainy day. When you are quarantined you get free drinks (even alcohol), free laundry service, newspapers, magazines, videos, free room service beyond the room service menu. Now, if I were in a Cat 1 or 2, I'd have it made...sitting on my veranda in my lounge... Nothing to complain about.

You get a very good deal when you are quarantined.

I am glad everything worked out with your son and you were able to enjoy your trip. You evidently got very lucky with your doctor.

Sorry, but IMO, NO amount of free drinks (which I odered none) newspapers (which I never got) room service, etc. could ever make up for my integrity being questioned, being punished for my disability, or the heartbreak of planning a 'once in a lifetime family reunion trip' and being ordered not to see your family for 72 hrs.
Parkaroo, please keep us updated.
Being on a ventilator is very frightening. (My daughter ended up on one straight from the airport, on return from our 7 day cruise. She caught a rotten cold on the trip but in her case, it triggered her asthma and she went down hill on the plane home.)
I would imagine that St. Thomas could have a fairly decent hospital. Being a U.S. Virgin Island, it struck me as just another State. A really lush and beautiful State. What a rotten way to get to stay longer though. I hope her Dad is getting the rest he needs, to be of support to her. It's too bad for him that they are in an expensive area, but it's also a blessing. There are other 'closest ports' along the Eastern route that they may have been evac'd to, that aren't so American friendly or medically advanced.
I'll be thinking of her. Keep us posted.
It has been very difficult to get information from the hospital in St. Thomas. My sister is still in ICU and both times my sister and I have called the nurses have hung up on us. All we know is that she is doing a little better. We are waiting to hear from my dad, they wouldn't let me talk to him when I called yesterday. Hopefully we will hear something positive soon.
We have been to St. Thomas a couple of times and always managed to stay in decent clean hotels for way less than $100 per night (more like $60 per night). They weren't in the tourist areas, but closer to the airport (they were for stop-overs), but I can't imagine that he wants to stay in the resort area anyway. I don't know what kind of hotel he is in, but he should switch. That is crazy!
Originally posted by parkaroo
It has been very difficult to get information from the hospital in St. Thomas. My sister is still in ICU and both times my sister and I have called the nurses have hung up on us. All we know is that she is doing a little better. We are waiting to hear from my dad, they wouldn't let me talk to him when I called yesterday. Hopefully we will hear something positive soon.

That is HORRIBLE! I would cal the administrator of the hospital and report the nurses! Just disgraceful behavior on their part. I am shocked especially since St. Thomas is a United States terratory that this type of behavior would be allowed!
Please keep us updated! Your family has been on my mind every since I read your post. We will be praying for all of you.
Parkaroo -

Call your Congressional Representative immediately! S/he can do more with one phone call than anyone else can do with a dozen.
This is very unprofessional conduct and totally unacceptable.
Let your Senator/Representative work for you.

Good News!!
They are on flight on the way home to the US. From the details I know she is doing better, but has to go to the hospital as soon as she arrives back. I will know more information tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who has been praying for us.


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