Salmonella among gastric problems for holidaymaker awarded £5,750 compensation
A Stoke-on-Trent holidaymaker has been awarded damages after she and her family contracted severe gastric problems, including poisoning from the dangerous bacterium salmonella, in Tunisia.
When illness struck in July 2013 the family were staying at the Holiday Village Manar in Hammamet.
“It was our first holiday to Tunisia,” the 54-year-old nursing assistant said. “We liked that [it was] all-inclusive.”
Disappointment quickly set in
Although the family’s first impressions of the hotel were favourable, things began to deteriorate once they saw the food they’d be eating during their 8-day stay.
“For breakfast I mostly stuck to an omelette or scrambled eggs and some fruit,” our client said. “The eggs at times would be quite runny, so I only ate the more solid parts.
“[Our granddaughter] was weaning at the time, so as well as having her formula milk she would also be given custard and a little scrambled egg. At other times she would have a bit of squashed up nectarine or some ice cream.
“There would often be dirty plates and cutlery left on the restaurant tables. I also noticed that not all of the staff uniforms were clean.”
Swimming pool hygiene was dubious
Simpson Millar LLP’s Simon Lomax said that our client used the hotel’s swimming pools to keep cool. “The water in them seemed clean enough, but our client could not detect chlorine or see the pool water being checked or tested.”
“Our lunches were mostly taken within the main restaurant,” our client explained, adding that although the family went twice to the pool snack bar, they stopped after seeing “too many flies on the food…it felt that a lot of what was cooked wasn’t being done so for long enough.”
Little girl fell ill
On the morning of Monday 22 July, our client’s granddaughter complained of feeling unwell. “After breakfast she was sick, miserable and crying a lot.
“By the afternoon we were worried as she had also started to get terrible diarrhoea. She was also bringing up her knees, so it looked like she was getting pains in her stomach.”
“We started to give what the doctor prescribed, but it didn’t seem to help. It was a nightmare watching her suffering so much and being unable to help.
“We all spent a great deal of time with her in the room and took it in turns going for breakfast. By the last day she was still the same and we couldn’t wait to get back home.”
Client fell ill after return home
With the toddler still ill as the disastrous holiday drew to a close, the family flew back to Birmingham Airport as scheduled. Then our client herself began to experience gastric problems.
“I had bad stomach pains. I vomited a couple of times and then got the same awful foul smelling green diarrhoea that [my granddaughter] had.”
In due course the youngster was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and, shortly after, the bacterium salmonella.
“She came to the attention of environmental health as salmonella is so serious,” our client said. “As I had the same symptoms, I was asked to drop off a stool sample, but it came back negative.
“By that time I was able to eat a little and keep it in, but I felt very lacking in energy. I spent a lot of time lying down crying.
“It wasn’t until about nine days after the holiday that I felt just about back to normal.”
Our client’s granddaughter wasn’t so lucky. Even though the toddler was given antibiotics to combat the infection, her diarrhoea only finally went away a month after the holiday.
“She still isn’t back to normal with regards to her eating and lost weight, which is bad for a child of her age,” our client noted, adding that others in the family also felt ill at the Holiday Village Manar.
First Choice was liable, says Lomax
“There can be no doubt that First Choice, the TUI subsidiary with which the holiday was booked, was responsible for the illness,” Simon Lomax concluded.
“It came from something the family ate, or it could have been due to contaminated water in one of the hotel’s swimming pools. Whatever its provenance, the illness could only have come from within the holiday village, as the family never left the precincts after their arrival.
“First Choice should have ensured that its hotel had conducted checks to ascertain food was fit to eat and pool water was safe. If they had done so, perhaps the infection could have been prevented, or at least identified so as to deal with it.”
Praise for Simpson Millar’s service: “Impossible to improve on”
“I was very pleased with [Simpson Millar’s] service and the timescale,” our delighted client said, following settlement in her favour of £5,750.
“[Simon Lomax was] very polite and efficient, and explained everything well. [I] would recommend to friends and family…I’d find it impossible to improve on the service.”