Deaths of Canadian, American tourists still a mystery

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The cause of death of two foreigners who passed away at a Vietnamese hospital last week remains a mystery, according to a Tuoi Tre report published Tuesday.

Cathy Huynh, a 26-year-old Canadian-Vietnamese, and her American friend Karin Joy Bowerman, 27, died last week at the south-central province of Khanh Hoa's Khanh Hoa General Hospital in Nha Trang City.

The two were admitted to Khanh Hoa Army and People's Hospital at around 7 p.m. on July 30.

Cathy, who spoke Vietnamese, told doctors they had had been vomiting since the afternoon.

Dr. Ngo Thi Thanh Tam said Karin was in more serious condition than Cathy and had vomited around 15 times. He said her heartbeat was much faster than normal.

Around 10 minutes later, Karin was transferred to the Khanh Hoa General Hospital with respiratory failure, a fast heartbeat and no blood pressure and pulse.

Dr Nguyen Thi Anh Phuong said the patient died at 10:40 p.m. the same day.

Meanwhile, Cathy was discharged from the Khanh Hoa Army and People Hospital at 9:30 p.m. and got back to a hotel where she and Karin had stayed.

According to the hotel's owner, Cathy said she was okay and it looked like she was in normal condition until the morning of August 1, when she said she felt tired.

She was offered some porridge but she refused, the hotel owner said.

At noon, Cathy took a taxi to the Khanh Hoa General Hospital.

Dr Pham Dinh Chi said Cathy was conscious when she was admitted to the hospital, but it looked like she was dizzy.

Her condition got worse and she died early on August 2.

On Monday, Huynh Thi Huong, Cathy's 57-year-old mother, and her brother arrived in Ho Chi Minh City to bring her body back to Canada for a funeral.

Huong said Cathy always wanted to be a teacher. Cathy and Karin taught English at a primary school in South Korea and later took a one-week leave to the beach city of Nha Trang.

Thomas Tanner, Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate General in HCMC, declined to comment on Karin's death, according to Tuoi Tre.

Dr Pham Xuan Thong, director of Forensic Examination Center in Khanh Hoa, said an autopsy had been done on Karin after her death.

Her samples are being preserved at the center and will soon be sent to Hanoi for analysis.

It usually takes two weeks before the results of the analysis are available, Thong said.

Meanwhile, an autopsy has not yet been done on Cathy.

At her family's request, Karin's body has been cremated in HCMC and her ashes have been sent back to the US.

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