Central Va. woman hospitalized in Dominican Republic on honeymoon

Updated: Jun. 19, 2019 at 8:15 AM EDT
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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (WWBT) - A Hanover woman was hospitalized in the Dominican Republic Sunday while on her honeymoon and is now urging others to use caution.

Skylar and Derek Martin’s experience comes amidst the growing number of American tourist’s deaths under mysterious circumstances reported in recent weeks while visiting the country.

The happy couple tied the knot June 8 at a family farm in Hanover County.

"It was perfect,” Skylar said. “It was a perfect wedding day."

Derek & Skylar Martin were married June 8, 2019 (Source: Peggy Rogerson Photography)
Derek & Skylar Martin were married June 8, 2019 (Source: Peggy Rogerson Photography)(laura harris | Peggy Rogerson Photography)

Roughly a week later, the Martins jetted off to the Dominican Republic for a week-long, all-inclusive stay at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana.

“We hung out at the beach a little bit that day,” Derek said. “The resort was beautiful. Everything was lovely Friday.”

However, Saturday night was the complete opposite. Shortly after dinner at a Japanese hibachi restaurant located at the resort, Skylar told Derek she wasn’t feeling well.

“We pretty much ate all the same things,” Skylar said. “I think our alcohol options were a bit different, but neither of us are really overindulges in that sense either. We all felt pretty comfortable with everything.”

"Skylar sort of has an iron stomach and if anyone is getting sick it's normally me,” Derek said. “So I thought that was sort of weird."

The Martins on their honeymoon at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana (Source: Derek Martin)
The Martins on their honeymoon at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana (Source: Derek Martin)(Derek Martin)

But he never expected what came next.

“At midnight, I woke up, and it was extreme vomiting,” she said. “I had a fever, I was in and out of consciousness for a while. I would wake up to vomit; my body would wake itself up to get more out.”

For six hours Skylar stayed in her hotel bathroom exhibiting those symptoms.

“Every 30 minutes I went in to check on her,” Derek said.

The couple finally decided to go to the resort clinic where they were told to go to the hospital immediately.

“They administered fluids, did a fecal, urine and blood sample,” Skylar said. “The only results we got back were the blood. So that’s really all we have to go on.”

Those results showed a huge spike in one of the components that make up her white blood cells.

“They kind of speculated it was a bacterial blood infection, but without the fecal results, which in the [United] States takes a few days to get back, we don’t really know what it was,” Skylar said.

However, the Martins said Skylar wasn’t the only person with her symptoms at the resort.

Skylar Martin was taken to the hospital Sunday in the Dominican Republic (Source: Derek Martin)
Skylar Martin was taken to the hospital Sunday in the Dominican Republic (Source: Derek Martin)(Derek Martin)

“We met a gentleman from California, his daughter and his son had gotten sick on separate days,” Derek said.

Derek added he had heard rumblings of roughly 150 people getting sick at the resort days before the couple arrived.

"I've had infections before, I've had stomach viruses, food poisoning, this was just something that if I hadn't been in good health could have been really, really dangerous," Skylar said.

The couple was able to cut short their honeymoon stay at the resort and fly back to the United States, arriving in central Virginia Monday afternoon.

“[Our family] was very concerned,” Skylar said. “Tears from both mothers when we got back here.”

“Initially before we went, we were a little hesitant,” Derek said. “We thought it wouldn’t happen to us and then for us to get there and it happen on our honeymoon, or to anyone, it’s just sad. We just want people to know, a) It can happen to you, b) It’s not being talked about, and c) It’s not safe. It’s just not safe right now to go to the Dominican Republic, at any of the resorts, not just the Hard Rock Punta Cana, in our opinion.”

According to the Martins, the resort paid for the trip to and from the hospital, prescriptions, and the cost to change their flight. However, they were not reimbursed to the days the couple did not stay at the resort.

Messages to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana were not immediately returned Tuesday.

The Martins were married June 8, 2019 (Source: Peggy Rogerson Photography)
The Martins were married June 8, 2019 (Source: Peggy Rogerson Photography)(PEGGY ROGERSON | Peggy Rogerson Photography)

Meanwhile, the newlyweds plan to salvage what honeymoon they have left - in the Chesapeake Bay!

They also add that their marriage can only go up from here.

"When you say your vows, in sickness and in health, well, we really got tested seven days into it," Derek said.

“I don’t know what I would have done without him there,” Skylar said.

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