Mystery death of honeymoon bride
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