Vietnam testing for cause of American tourist's death

TN News

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Medical samples taken from an American woman who died mysteriously while vacationing in Vietnam have been sent to the National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Hanoi for tests, Tuoi Tre reported Wednesday.

American Karin Joy Bowerman, 27, and her travel companion Cathy Huynh, a 26-year-old Canadian Vietnamese, both died of apparent respiratory failure at a hospital in the south-central beach town of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province.

The blood and viscera samples from Bowerman were taken and stored after an autopsy early this month at Khanh Hoa General Hospital, where she died.

Bowerman's body was then cremated in Ho Chi Minh City at her family's request, and her ashes were sent back to the US.

Meanwhile, Huynh's family refused to allow an autopsy or tests on her while in Vietnam, saying there was no need because the results would be the same as Bowerman's.

They brought the body back to Hamilton, a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario, last Friday night and an autopsy was conducted by the Ontario Coroner's Office at Hamilton General Hospital Saturday morning.

Regional Coroner Dr. Stanborough said the test results may take a while to come back, The Spectator reported.

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

Huynh, who spoke Vietnamese, told doctors they had had been vomiting since that afternoon.

Bowerman was in the worse condition of the two, vomiting repeatedly and recording a rapid heartbeat. She was immediately transferred to the Khanh Hoa General Hospital with respiratory failure and no blood pressure or pulse.

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She died at 10:40 p.m.

Meanwhile, Huynh was discharged from the Khanh Hoa Army and People's Hospital at 9:30 p.m. and returned to their hotel on Nguyen Thien Thuat Street.

She told her hotel owner she was okay and he said she seemed normal until the next morning, when she told him she felt tired.

He offered her some porridge, but she refused.

At noon she went to the Khanh Hoa General Hospital. She was conscious when she was admitted but looked "dazed," according to doctors.

Her condition worsened and she died early on August 2.

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