Honeymoon Horror: Sydney Bride Died of Pneumonia in Fiji
Sydney nurse Kelly Clarke died of pneumonia in Fiji says her husband. The shattered husband of a Sydney bride who died on her honeymoon in Fiji of severe bilateral pneumonia has told of his “complete and utter devastation” as he faces an agonizing wait for approval to fly her body home.
Chase Clarke and Kelly, 24, who worked as a Nurse at Westmead Children’s Hospital, were in Sigatoka for a friend’s wedding and their Honeymoon when she contracted the fungal infection affecting both lungs and was pronounced dead on Friday.
Her parents Graham and Karen Shaw have flown to Fiji and have chartered a private jet to fly her body home but are waiting for the approval from Fijian authorities which could take several days.
Initial reports confirm the nurse died of the infection but her husband said there were four additional “Minor” causes highlighted.
Mr. Clarke Said, “I don’t know what to say, I’m completely and utterly devastated, it’s come as a complete shock.
“When we’re stronger we will reveal the complete causes of death but severe bilateral pneumonia is the main one.
“Kelly is a wonderful kind soul, the last thing you expect on your honeymoon is to lose your wife, and she had her whole life ahead of her.
“Her parents have arrived today and they are lost for words.
“We’re just sitting here at the resort waiting to get approval to get her body home.
“We just want her home, it’s a waiting game for us now, and we’re just shocked and devastated and can’t explain how we feel.
“I just feel numb.” Mr. Clarke described the agonizing decision to direct medical staff to stop working on his wife.
“I said ‘stop’ and pushed everyone away and I and her mother just held her,” he said.
In a statement provided by the family, her parents said she was “an amazing human being.”
“She was so young. She had her whole life ahead of her,” they wrote.
“She will be deeply missed and she was loved by all.”
Experts suspect Mrs. Clarke, who had contracted the chronic immune disorder lupus earlier this year, would most likely have been treated with steroids which damages the immune system further and increases the risk of infection.
Infectious diseases expert at Sydney University Robert Booy Said, “Lupus can weaken the lungs directly, so they may have already been damaged, increasing the risk of pneumonia and infections.
“Lupus is a chronic disease that is treated with steroids, it’s very sad indeed that she died so young and on her honeymoon.”
Mrs. Clarke, a post-operative nurse at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, became ill on Wednesday believing she had a stomach bug.
She was rushed to Lautoka Hospital, north of Nadi, where she was told she had contracted typhoid.
She was placed into an induced coma due to organ failure and septicemia and was reportedly in a very unstable condition.
It was initially thought she had died due to typhoid, but blood tests revealed that the disease was not to blame.
Mrs. Clarke’s sister Tam Brown started a fundraiser to bring her home to pay for emergency treatment raising $50,000.
“She needs a medivac ASAP as Fiji don’t have the medications she needs,” she wrote, but her sister died before she could be evacuated.
She had gone into cardiac arrest five times within an hour before her death.
Mr. and Mrs. Clarke were married in April and had been in Fiji for their honeymoon and to attend a friend’s wedding.