Cynthia Braaf Passenger Illness Death Freedom of the Seas – On November 12, 2017, Cynthia Braaf, 54, from Lauderhill, Florida, was cruising with her husband Humphrey, aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship Freedom of the Seas on six-night Caribbean cruise, when she became ill and later died at Broward General Hospital, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Humphrey has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
Humphrey and Cynthia met when they were just 5 years old. Their parents were close friends, so the two became childhood playmates. After Humphrey graduated from college, they reconnected and became inseparable. They had three children together. They had never been on a cruise before but, at their pastor’s suggestion, decided to try one.
Although Cynthia could have been airlifted off the ship once Royal Caribbean doctors realized she was in critical condition, she wasn’t promptly evacuated, and her condition worsened overnight with limited medical assistance, the lawsuit states.
Cynthia Braaf began suffering complications from her well-managed diabetes several days into the cruise on the morning of November 10, 2017. Her husband contacted the ship’s infirmary and alerted doctors that his wife was feeling lethargic and weak and had slurred speech, the lawsuit states.
A blood sugar test revealed she had a glucose level of 419, way above the normal range. She was taken to the ship’s infirmary, where they found she had a significantly low pH level and potassium of 3.3 (which is slightly below normal). She was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis.
The lawsuit alleges, Cynthia’s symptoms rapidly worsened. Within an hour and 20 minutes, her potassium level shot up to a dangerously high 7.1, which can lead to deadly changes in heart rhythm.
When the ship’s doctor, Japtha Myrna, originally from South Africa arrived, he ordered “2 units of insulin” if Cynthia’s blood glucose level was at or above 300. In the early-morning hours of November 11, the insulin was administered, the lawsuit states, along with 50 ml of sodium bicarbonate. Treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis typically involves intravenous fluids, insulin, and potassium to prevent low blood potassium levels.
After the Freedom of the Seas returned to Port Everglades, Cynthia was immediately transferred to Broward General Hospital via ambulance. When she arrived at the ER, she was intubated and unresponsive. Several hours later, at 12:25 a.m. November 12, she was pronounced dead. Diabetic ketoacidosis was listed as the cause of death.