Tourist found unconscious in hotel room during holiday with friends
Liza Burke, 22, is on life support after a trip to Mexico took a tragic turn.
A 22-year-old university student’s overseas holiday with “a big group of friends” took a tragic turn on Friday when they discovered her unconscious in her hotel room.
Liza Burke was having a great time celebrating her last spring break in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, when she suddenly developed what she thought was a migraine, her mum Laura McKeithen told US publication 11Alive.
She woke up feeling unwell and told friends at breakfast that she had “a bad headache” before returning to her room to take a nap.
However, when they were unable to wake her up hours later, they called emergency services for help before rushing Ms Burke to a local hospital in a taxi, Ms McKeithen tearfully said in a recorded interview from Mexico, where she landed the following day.
“She was in what they call a comatose state when she arrived,” she recalled.
After arriving at the hospital to be by her daughter’s side, Ms McKeithen said doctors diagnosed the 22-year-old University of Georgia student, who is in her final year, with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) — an abnormal connection between arteries and veins — causing her brain to haemorrhage.
Ms Burke remains on life support and her physicians and family are working together to safely transport her back to the US.
“It’s touch and go,” Ms McKeithen said, revealing her daughter’s heart rate had dropped suddenly on Sunday when staff tried to ease her sedation.
“I started talking to her and asked her to squeeze my hand. She squeezed my hand. The intensive care unit pretty much lit up. At that point everyone was very happy,” she said. “She’s a fighter, the girl’s a warrior.”
The worried mum said surgeons successfully placed a pacemaker inside Ms Burke's chest on Monday so she will hopefully be more stable for the transport flight home.
“The doctors here know it’s in her best interest to get to the US, and are working with us to get her there safely,” she told 11Alive.
Friends describe Liza Burke as 'genuine, dynamic and fierce'
Ms Burke’s friend Jennifer Ritter has created a GoFundMe to help the family cover medical costs, and has so far raised A$174,000.
“So many people have reached out wanting to help, which is a testament to how many people Liza has touched,” she wrote on the fundraiser.
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“She is genuine, dynamic, playful and fierce. She has so much left to give to the world. Please continue to pray for her full recovery.
“All donations will help fund her life-flight transport from Mexico to Jacksonville. Thank you for loving our sweet Liza.”
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