A Canadian mother and her sick son are desperate to get back home after an illness forced Cole Antinello, 7, off an airplane tarmac in Cuba, leaving them stuck in hospital and searching for answers.
Nicole Antinello of Caledonia, Ont. flew to Cuba for a holiday on July 14 with her seven-year-old son, alongside her 76-year-old mother and her 16-year-old daughter.
Towards the end of the trip, the family started experiencing flu-like symptoms, she said. It hit Cole the hardest — and officials flagged the Caledonia Centennial School student as too sick to fly when sitting in his seat on the tarmac in Cuba, about to take off to come home.
“He had a fever and chills, and thought he was going to throw up,” Antinello told CBC News from Cuba. The family was pulled off the plane, and Cole was rushed to a pediatric hospital in Holguin.
‘It’s so scary, and my head is spinning, and I just want to get back home to Canada.’
– Nicole Antinello
There, doctors diagnosed Cole with appendicitis and wheeled him into surgery to have his appendix out — but his mother says she isn’t sure that was the right diagnosis.
The doctors pushed on his abdomen to gauge his pain level, and though her son said “Ow,” he “just wasn’t in a whole bunch of pain,” Antinello said. The doctors also performed a blood test, which she says revealed a an irregularity.
“The doctors started speaking in Spanish, and then they turned around and said he needed his appendix out.”
Mother alleges hospital conditions were ‘like a warzone’
According to the Mayo Clinic, a physical exam to assess pain and a blood test can both be used to help diagnose appendicitis. Urine tests can also be ordered, alongside imaging tests like an ultrasound or CT scan — but those options weren’t available in the hospital, Antinello told CBC News.
She called the conditions in the…