Courthouse News reports today on a disturbing story regarding a cruise passenger’s death due to what is alleged to be delayed and inadequate shipboard medical care.

The story involves John and Victoria Showers who sailed from Miami on a Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Dream.

After leaving Miami, Ms. Showers complained of constipation. She went ashore in Cozumel, the following day, where she purchased laxatives that didn’t help her. The article states that Ms. Showers experienced severe abdominal pain while back on the cruise ship. The following morning, Mr. Showers called the ship’s medical personnel, who eventually sent a wheelchair to their cabin and took Ms. Showers to the infirmary.

Carnival Dream Cruise Ship - Medical Malpractice But instead of seeing a ship doctor, Ms. Showers was seen by who appears to be a nurse who did not take a history, or take her vital signs, or examine her according to Mr. Showers.  All the cruise employee did, according to the article, was to give Ms. Showers two fleet enemas.

When the ship doctor finally saw Ms. Showers later in the afternoon, he diagnosed a bowel obstruction after examining her.  The ship doctor recommended she she be seen at a medical center in Belize where crew members are treated.

Once Ms. Showers was ashore in Belize City, the doctors there stated that they could not provide emergency treatment for her. Mr. Showers had to arrange for emergency medical evacuation of his wife to Miami.

The doctors in Miami found that fecal matter had entered Ms. Showers abdominal cavity, causing an infection and other severe complications. Following hospitalization from November 4th and many surgeries later, Ms. Showers died on December 22nd.

We have written many articles about bad medical care on cruise ships and in the Caribbean, and the difficulties holding cruise lines responsible for medical malpractice.  Read: If The Ship Doctor Kills You, Too Bad

  • Jim Smith

    Interesting…I thought that the Carnival Dream sailed from Port Canaveral, Fl. Wonder why the ship’s home port was changed for this particular voyage??

  • Tami Murrell

    J.S. – I’m sure it wasn’t – it is another written blog that didn’t have the facts correct that put the cruise industry in another bad name…. Although I feel bad for the passengers, but we don’t know the history of her medical condition, nor should we but lets keep it real – the facitilities onboard are for cuts and scraps only and not equipped for ER situations. It is told to everyone and even written on my last cruise information taken in April. Buy your Trip insurance!

  • Tami:

    Thanks for reading but you need to disclose that you work for Carnival.

    Please send us any documentation you have saying that Carnival infirmaries are “for cuts and scrapes only and not equipped for ER situations.”

    Thank you.

    Jim Walker

  • Bill G.

    I too read the article and feel for the widower…but I too thought that the Carnival Dream sailed out of Port Canaveral. Actually, I know for a fact that it sails out of Port Canaveral…something doesn’t add up. She started complaining the first day, so she more than likely had already started having issues before they boarded. I am well aware that ship medical facilities are not full fledged emergency rooms. Whether the Dr and Carnival knew that the hospital in Belize could not handle the emergency remains to be seen, and will hopefully come out in court. But the sad fact of the matter is, she had to be evacuated to Miami REGARDLESS! Unfortunately, that takes time…

  • Toni

    This poor lady dies and Tami says “buy your trip insurance!” ?????? Hence why I will never cruise again. Shame on Carnival.

  • Jim Smith

    Wow, Mr. Walker…that sure is a pretty harsh rebuke.

    Why is it that when someone doesn’t attack a cruise line, is it assumed that they MUST work for that cruise line?

    Also…Just wondering if you have any documentation that says Carnival Medical facilities ARE equipped for ER Situations? If you’re going to take Tami to task and insist on “proof” you should be prepared to provide some of your own.

    BTW…This comes directly from the Carnival Website:

    “The Medical Center is equipped to treat minor non-emergency matters”

    You can go there yourself to read it if you don’t believe me.

  • Jim Smith:

    Tami is a Personal Vacation Planner at Carnival Cruise Lines:

    She posts from time to time. Disagreeing with me is just fine, all I ask is to disclose that you work for a cruise line selling tickets.

    Carnival states the following about its cruise ship doctors:

    The ship’s physician is responsible for the basic and emergency medical treatment of the guests . . . The ship physician also serves as the emergency and primary care physician for all crew onboard. Candidates must have completed a minimum of three years postgraduate training in internal medicine, family practice, or emergency medicine and be competent in emergency medicine with experience in orthopedic and minor surgical procedures . . .

  • Cindy

    10/21/12 911…. is answered by GUEST SERVICES!!!!!???? I am an RN. My first cruise experience ever, occurred upon the Carnival Pride this week and ended abruptly with a 911 call that was answered by “GUEST SERVICES”. I told them that my mother was semi-concious and having profuse vomiting and diarrhea, they told me to take her to see the nurse in the clinic. I told them she could not walk and that I needed an emergency response team with a stretcher, oxygen and that an IV would need to be started immediately before her veins collapsed. They again told me, “Tell her to go the the clinic to see the nurse”. As I continued to protest…they told me “the nurse would call me”. They then hung up. The call fron the nurse never came. I had no choice but to find a wheelchair, knowing that my only hope to save my mother would be to get her off the ship (thankfully, we had arrived in Cape Canaveral that morning). I phoned guest service, they told me to call hospitality service to get a wheel chair. They must have gone to the wrong floor beause they called me and said I didn’t answer the door when they brought the wheelchair. I replied that I had been standing in the doorway waiting and no one came. It took more than 30 minutes to get a young man to the room with a wheelchair. And there were no phone calls from a nurse or any other medical or emergency response personnel. I picked up my semi-conscious mother and wheeled her to the lobby where the carnival gate keepers told me that we could not take the wheelchair off the ship. By the grace of God, the young man who assisted me with the wheelchair recognized that my mother may die if we didn’t get off the ship. He ran with me to the parking lot where transport was waiting to take my mom to the emergency room.
    I later returned to the ship to gather our belongings before it left port. I was prevented from leaving the ship and told that I must make arrangements to “debark” the ship at Guest Services. They demanded a $300 fee per person and would not let me leave until I paid for both my mother and I.
    All I can say is that Carnival is fortunate that this negligence did not result in my mothers death. God forbid that anyone would need their help.

  • Robin Setola

    My question is ….we were on a cruise on Carnival cruise line heading to the Pannama Canal. My husband began to have problems with his eye sight, breaking his glasses trying to get his glasses to focus . Not feeling right I took him to our room, he then began to have an excruciating headache . My first reaction was he was having a stroke. I went into auto mode and asked questions name of Pres., lift arms up evenly, smile balance, etc. his case wasn’t text book stroke but I made him chew 2 aspirin and took him to the ship doctor. We saw the doctor for only 5 minutes. The Doctor did not do one test fo a stroke, he insisted my husband had a sinus infection. The doctor gave him Tylenol and sent us on our way. We had 5 more days left on the cruise. We departed off the ship and I called my general Doctor she had me get a MRI immediately and he had a stroke on right side of the brain. Do I have any recourse against the cruise lines.