Mys­tery death of hon­ey­moon bride

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JACK MORPHET

A YOUNG bride has died of a mys­tery ill­ness while on hon­ey­moon in Fiji.

Syd­ney chil­dren’s nurse Kelly Clarke, 24, who was hol­i­day­ing with her hus­band Chase at the Outrig­ger re­sort at Si­ga­toka, on Fiji’s main is­land, be­gan feel­ing ill on Wed­nes­day.

Mrs Clarke, a post-op­er­a­tive nurse at The Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal at West­mead, shrugged it off as a stom­ach bug and took a bath be­fore go­ing to bed to sleep it off.

How­ever, within hours she was rushed to hos­pi­tal in Lau­toka, where doc­tors be­gan treat­ing her for sus­pected typhoid. When she didn’t re­spond af­ter two days it was de­cided early on Fri­day to in­duce a coma.

Mr Clarke was at the re­sort col­lect­ing the cou­ple’s be­long­ings when doc­tors put her un­der se­da­tion.

“She said over the phone she was scared she was go­ing to die and I just told her I loved her — what else could I say?” Mr Clarke, 28, said.

“I told her to be strong, that I was com­ing straight back and to rest up be­cause she needed her strength.”

That was the new­ly­weds’ last con­ver­sa­tion.

Mrs Clarke died at 10.40pm on Fri­day night, less than an hour be­fore a med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion team ar­rived to fly her to Syd­ney.

Mr Clarke said blood tests had ruled out typhoid.

The cou­ple had been hol­i­day­ing in Fiji in the lead-up to the wed­ding of Mr Clarke’s best mate, and had con­quered a num­ber of pho­bias to­gether.

“We’re both pet­ri­fied of sharks but we went scuba diving and kayak­ing over open wa­ter and had a tur­tle come right up to us,” he said.

The cou­ple had planned to start a fam­ily within the next two years.

“Kelly was very in­tel­li­gent, beau­ti­ful, lovely and car­ing,” Mr Clarke said. “She loved kids and loved her work as a nurse and was get­ting great feed­back from work.”

Mrs Clarke grew up in Kil­lar­ney Heights and worked for years at the Kir­ri­billi Club, where the cou­ple cel­e­brated their wed­ding in April (below).

“Kelly was bright, bub­bly and over the top,” Kir­ri­billi Club duty man­ager Launa Harper said.

“She loved her makeup and al­ways looked the part.”

Mr Clarke be­lieved his wife had been vac­ci­nated against typhoid but had con­tracted the im­mune dis­or­der lu­pus ear­lier this year.

The Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs de­clined to dis­cuss Mrs Clarke’s case specif­i­cally but reg­u­larly helps fam­i­lies fly home the re­mains of loved ones.

“The Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs is pro­vid­ing con­sular as­sis­tance, in ac­cor­dance with the Con­sular Ser­vices Char­ter, to the fam­ily of an Aus­tralian woman who passed away in Fiji,” a spokes­woman said.

Fi­jian doc­tors have told the fam­ily they will not re­lease Mrs Clarke’s re­mains un­til they have con­ducted an au­topsy.

Ryde woman Kelly Clarke, 24, has died of a mys­tery ill­ness on her hon­ey­moon in Fiji. Pic­ture: Face­book

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