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Holidaymaker successfully claims compensation for illness contracted at the Sierra Hotel in Egypt

24th July 2017

Our client went on a package holiday with her partner and family to the Sierra Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Within a few days of her arrival at the all-inclusive resort, she fell ill and develop symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea. Soon, the rest of her party suffered from similar symptoms and her partner continued to briefly suffer when they returned to the UK.

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Possible issues with the hotel restaurant and food

Our client expressed dissatisfaction with the main buffet style restaurant at the Sierra Hotel, informing us that they believe that there was a lack of hygiene in the main restaurant and the table cloths stained with old bits of food, and this attracted lots of flies.

She advised us that she didn't see cleaning sprays or solutions being used by the staff. Commenting on the staff at the hotel, she informed us that there was a lack of staff and that when clearing a table, they would leave cutlery on which they thought hadn't been used by the previous diners.

They said to us that the food was arguably of a poor quality, and often they found that it was warm rather than being hot, but was often cold. She told us that not once did she see food temperature checks being carried out and that often fresh food brought out would be poured onto the old, rather than replacing it with fresh dishes, making it impossible to determine the age of the food.

Our client informed us that none of the restaurant staff members wore hats, apart from the chefs, and no one wore gloves. Consequently, she reported to us that items of food would be handled bare handed. She told us that there was a hand sanitizer on the entrance to the main restaurant, but its use wasn't enforced or encouraged, and that she wasn't aware of the hotel staff using it either.

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Pool may have been unhygienic

She informed us that while the adult pool was quieter, she felt that it wasn't particularly clean, and had a visible line of grime on the tiles around the edge, just above the water line. She informed us that when the pool guy attempted to clean the pool, she witnessed him allowing the bits that he scrubbed to fall into the water and that he wrung his cloth out in the pool while it was open to hotel guests.

She says that the pool never smelled or tasted of chlorine and apart from one occasion, she never saw anyone clean the pool. Our client told us that she was so fearful of the hotel water being unclean, that she only drank bottled water and brushed her teeth using bottled water.

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Reports of a lack of sympathy

Our client advised us that on the second day of her holiday, she started to come down with the symptoms of a gastric illness. After numerous members of their party fell ill, the hotel arranged for our client to see a medical practitioner at their sister hotel.

Before this, she says that the Sierra Hotel's catering manager blamed our client for her illness, as he believed that they had brought a harmful strain of bacteria with them, which our client felt showed a lack of sympathy and compassion.

Symptoms of Gastroenteritis

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Severe gastric illness symptoms

She says that her condition started with pains in her stomach after which she experienced an urgent need for the toilet, meaning that she had to use the main reception toilets, which she commented was always filthy, smelled awful and were sometimes covered in faeces.

She advised us that by the evening, her stomach pains had her doubled over in pain and she experienced watery diarrhoea that came out like green water. She was violently sick and had to drink additional water to keep herself hydrated, as well as experiencing symptoms of lethargy.

She states that it wasn't long afterwards that her mother and aunt came down with the same symptoms, and unfortunately, her partner who had planned to propose to her was struck down with the illness a couple of days before their departure, leaving them concerned that he might not be unable to fly back home.

Our client also informed us that although her mother recovered quickly her illness caused her to suffer low blood pressure and hallucinations.

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Treatment of holiday illness

She advised us that when she spoke to the hotel manager who arranged for them to visit the doctor in their sister hotel, they eventually acknowledged that the illness was not their fault and that they would not need to pay for treatment.

Our client was subsequently diagnosed with Gastroenteritis and advised that each member of their party that was affected would need to hand in a stool sample. Despite being told by the hotel management that they wouldn't need to pay for their medical treatment, they were advised that this would not be the case.

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Following her illness in Egypt, our client returned to the UK and instructed us to represent her. As a result of her illness the tour operator settled the claim for £6,500.

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What to do if you become ill abroad

If you have contracted an illness with severe symptoms abroad, we advise you to seek medical treatment. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to notify a member of staff or, better yet, your tour operator representative, who should be able to help get you the treatment you need.

If you've been severely ill abroad and had part of your holiday ruined because of it, you might be entitled to claim compensation. Our travel law team can advise you on the best method to pursue a claim, including whether we can represent you on a 'no win no fee' basis.

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If you would like to find out more about claiming compensation for a holiday illness; contact us by calling 0808 145 1353 or complete our enquiry form and we will call you back.