Andy Knebel, 70 – Natural Causes, Vision of the Seas Passenger, March 18, 2006, Time of Death 5:00-9:00.
My husband Andy Knebel, 70, died on board Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas March 18, 2006. We took the cruise to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary which was on March 15th, 2006. We boarded in Long Beach California and sailed to Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. The morning of the 17th my husband went to a presentation about the ship. He was especially interested in and told me about how they life-flighted ill people off the ship.
The 17th was a normal day and night. He was fine all day until we were waiting in line to have photos taken before dinner. It was a formal night. My husband said the perfume was bothering him so he went to the restroom.
He came back and we had our photos taken then went directly into the dining room for dinner.
Right away he went back to the restroom, when he came back this time he collapsed, never saying he did not feel well. Help from the crew and a wheel chair came promptly.
We were taken to the infirmary for treatment. I had to sign some papers and was told we would be life-flighted off the ship and that I should pack a bag in order to leave. I did so as quickly as I could and went back to the infirmary. When I returned, I was told Andy was bleeding internally and it was serious. In the following four hours he lost 4 liters of blood and was in critical condition. He was given 14 containers of fluid to replace his blood loss. The ship’s doctor was seldom in the room assisting.
My husband talked to me up until about the last one and a half hours of his life. I stood by his side for 11 hours as he bled to death. From the time he collapsed to his death, my husband bled out over 8 liters of blood. There was not enough blood left in his body to sustain his heart and other organs. During the 11 hours we were in the infirmary I was told they would get us off at Cobo, then Ensenada, then some island and then San Diego. We were not disembarked at any of these places. I think they told me they would get us off at these places to appease me. Andy died the morning of the 18th. I was kept on the ship for 30 more hours after his death before docking back in Long Beach.
About 2 weeks prior to the cruise, my husband went to his doctor and had a clean bill of health. His weight was 206 pounds. At death he weighed 244 pounds due to the 14 containers of fluid they gave him to replace the blood loss. The autopsy reads he died of Excessive Obesity at 244 pounds, also from a Heart Attack (from lack of blood) and an Ulcerated Bowel. If we had been life flighted off of the ship to a hospital, with surgery the bowel most likely could have been repaired and Andy might still be alive.
To this day I’m still traumatized from my ordeal. I would not want any one to experience what I went through. The message I want to get out to everyone who will listen is that if you are going on a cruise be in excellent health because if you get sick the people in the infirmary may not help you. Know that laws have been passed to further protect cruise ships and not the passengers. I was told that cruise ships do not carry blood on board and even if whole blood had arrived for my husband, there was no medical employee trained to do the transfusion that was needed to save his life.