An Overland Park nurse believes she was a victim of being served bad alcohol while on a trip in Mexico.
Cindy Otte was vacationing in May at Playa del Carmen, where three months later Mexican authorities swept through dozens of resorts to seize unsanitary alcohol, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Cancun resorts were also among the investigation.
The seizure of 10,000 gallons of bad alcohol earlier this month came after the U.S. State Department issued a warning about tainted alcohol to vacationers in Mexico. However, as of Aug. 31, the department makes no mention of alcohol in its travel warning for Mexico.
After two shots of tequila hours earlier, Otte visited a Señor Frogs restaurant, where she drank one-quarter of a margarita.
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Then the symptoms overwhelmed her, and she collapsed, she said.
“I had a drink, and then 30 minutes later I started laughing hysterically and then just literally went down, passed out, turned cold,” Otte told The Star.
Otte described the experience as the “scariest event of my life.”
More than 1.4 million gallons of adulterated alcohol has been seized by Mexican authorities since 2010, according to a 2017 report.
The State Department continues to list Quintana Roo, which includes Playa del Carmen and Cancun, as potentially dangerous: “The state of Quintana Roo experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to 2016.”
After Otte was sickened, she was taken to a hospital, where she came to after six hours of unconsciousness. She said the hospital requested $2,000 before treatment. She was treated with fluids and nausea medication. Hospital staff diagnosed her with dehydration.
Otte said she felt uncomfortable because she was not treated for potential poisoning, a feeling that heightened when hospital staff requested an additional $2,000 to spend the night at the hospital.
Otte and her husband left instead.
“They didn’t care if I was going to die,” Otte said. “No concern for my health, and they didn’t treat me until the $2,000 was cleared.”
Irregular alcohol can be reported to Mexican authorities at the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk.
Parts of Mexico are popular tourist areas, and most visits are incident-free, a U.S. Embassy representative told meetings-conventions.com.