PLANT CITY, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Plant City man regrets going to the Dominican Republic with his wife to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary after he came back severely sick. His complaints come in the wake of at least four American tourists who died while visiting the island in the last month or so.
“I told my wife we won’t go out of the country again,” Jerry Martin told FOX 13 on Tuesday.
A few days after the Martins arrived in Punta Cana, he came down with devastating symptoms.
“Fire in the bottom of my stomach. Pain, excruciating pain,” Martin recalled. “We were down at the pool when it hit, and I had to go up and just lay down and hold my stomach. It was on fire.”
Martin spent the rest of his trip in the bathroom. As soon as they landed back in the states, Martin made a beeline to the emergency room. He has been back to the ER five times in the last few weeks, with little or no relief.
He has also been losing a lot of weight.
“I am sacred, honestly. It’s my health,” he said.
Martin is not sure if his illness is connected to the deaths of the other visitors to the Dominican Republic, but he is not taking any more chances, and will not go back there or anywhere else out of the country.
The recent bad news coming out of the Dominican Republic doesn’t seem to be affecting tourism at this point. Maria Thomas, owner of Dreamward Travel in Lakeland, says quite a few of her clients have trips booked to the island.
“And we have not had one person call and question travelling to the Dominican Republic,” said Thomas.
Like other companies that arrange travel, such as AAA, Thomas relies on government travel advisories. In this case, The U.S. Department of State is issuing a level two advisory about the Dominican Republic, which means that visitors should exhibit increased caution if they go.
After what Martin is going through, his advice is much more direct.
“Don’t go,” he said. “Just don’t go.”