Carl Wallen, a resident of Placencia, Stann Creek, is calling for an investigation into what he considers the strange death of his common-law-wife, Danish Logan, 27—a young woman who reportedly suffered heart failure—which he fears may have been the consequence of a contagious bacteria being spread in Belize.
Amandala contacted Belize’s only native pathologist, Dr. Hugh Sanchez, to query what caused Danisha’s death, and he told us “…nothing was found.”
Based on anecdotal information from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) team which attended Danish before her death, it has been ruled that she died from cardiac arrest, said Wallen. One of Danisha’s doctors, Dr. Pedro Arriaga, who attended to her at the Belize Healthcare Partners Limited (BHPL) before she was transferred to the KHMH for further care, told our newspaper when we contacted him that he was still awaiting the full post-mortem report. However, he said that Danisha arrived at BHPL with “a serious infection,” which began to manifest itself after she had dental works done in Dangriga.
Arriaga said that bacteria like staphylococcus or streptococcus would tend to be the ones that cause infections following dental procedures; however, blood and urine cultures done on Danisha Logan, to see what was causing the infection, were all negative. He said that this could have been because she had already been taking antibiotics.
Arriaga told us that Enterobacter, the bacteria blamed for the deaths of several babies at the KHMH’s NICU section, was never isolated in Danisha’s case.
According to Arriaga, Logan demonstrated conditions consistent with endocarditis – complications of a bacterial infection resulting in heart damage. In the ICU at KHMH, said Arriaga, Danisha also developed arrhythmia and went into cardiac arrest.
Endocarditis is defined as an infection of the inner lining of the heart which typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of the body, such as the mouth, spread through the bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in the heart.
Where did Danisha Logan’s medical problems begin? Wallen recounted for us what he recollected: he said that Danisha, the mother of two of his children – a son, 5, and daughter, 2, went to the dentist around April 17th to do a root canal.
Subsequently, he said, she complained of a throat infection. She also had a skin rash, which itched badly. Then she complained of fever periodically.
The week after, she started feeling sick, said Wallen. Danisha had a fever of 104.8 degrees. She also had pain in her lower abdomen and they were worried that she may have been sick in her womb.
The first time Danish sought medical attention, the week she got ill, the internist who attended to her said he couldn’t determine what was causing her illness after doing several blood tests, said Wallen.
The second week, the family took Danisha to the Southern Regional Hospital, and Wallen said medics there thought, when they saw the skin rash, that Danisha had been infected with HIV. However, he said, the test turned up negative. The Nigerian doctors laughed it off and said it was just an allergy, and that she would be fine, Wallen added.
That same week, Logan complained of severe pain. She was treated at the Southern Regional Hospital, before seeking medical attention at the Belize Healthcare Partners Limited (BHPL) – this was almost a month after she first started feeling ill, said Wallen.
At BHPL, she almost passed out and had to be rushed to the emergency room. After about a week at the hospital, the bill escalated to about $8,000 and the family could not afford it. This is when they requested a transfer to the KHMH, said Wallen.
He said that the doctor at BHPL, Pedro Arriaga, had indicated that there was a possibility that with 6 weeks of treatment at the hospital, Logan could recover. She was transferred on Saturday, May 25, and died on Tuesday, June 4.
Wallen said that upon his wife’s admission at the KHMH, he, Wallen, got very sick while in the emergency room; his throat started to itch and he started coughing up thick green mucous. Danisha was transferred to an upstairs room where she could get fresh air and the antibiotic treatment continued, said Wallen.
Danisha was in the KHMH for about a week and a half. Wallen told us that just around the time that the family was looking into getting Danisha flown out of Belize for further treatment through assistance from the Rotary Club, things took a turn for the worse.
“In the morning, she was fine. She was walking around, going to the bathroom, eating, talking and laughing,” Wallen recalled.
Wallen said that the intravenous drip that was in his wife’s neck got clogged. A nurse flushed it, and right after that, her condition deteriorated. She started to suffer seizures, which the medical staff controlled with injections, Wallen recalled.
On Monday night, Logan was moved to the ICU, where Wallen said family visits were restricted to 10 minutes, and only one person was allowed to visit her at a time.
Wallen said that the doctor called him on the night of Monday, June 3, to tell him that they had done a brain scan and had seen a clot which they believed had caused the seizures, so they had to put her in induced coma.
Wallen said he told Logan, with whom he had spent the last 13 years of his life: “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of the children.” He found her dead the following Tuesday morning.
Wallen said the pathologist, Dr. Sanchez, has told him that he did not find anything during the post-mortem to confirm that Danisha died from heart failure.
Arriaga said that Danisha also had liquid in her lungs, and that she had symptoms consistent with Endocarditis. However, Sanchez told us, after doing his post-mortem: “I didn’t find evidence of that.”
He said that the post-mortem was “non-conclusive” and “nothing was alarming,” in what he saw while doing the procedure.
Wallen said that he does not want what happened to Danisha to happen to anyone else; and he wants the matter to be investigated. He is calling on the Prime Minister of Belize to seek foreign assistance from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).