£6,250 Compensation for E. coli Infection on Holiday in Egypt

Author:
Simon Lomax
Manager, Holiday Claims Lawyer
Date:
20/09/2019

A Holiday Sickness Case Study – Client Situation

Our client went on an ill-inclusive holiday to the Sentido Mamlouk Palace Hotel in Hurghada, Egypt, with her partner to enjoy some winter sun, but fell ill about halfway through their stay.

One day, her stomach started feeling strange and she began being sick and experiencing loose bowel movements. She knew it wasn’t weather related as it hadn’t been too hot and she had properly protected her skin, so she questioned if it may have been down to food hygiene standards at the hotel, and possibly the ice in their drinks.

Her symptoms continued for the rest of her holiday and after returning back to the UK, she suffered very painful stomach cramps, explosive diarrhoea and severe bouts of vomiting.

Despite her symptoms, our client chose not to go to the doctor and returned to work. At this time, she was so scared of having an accident when she left the house that she went out wearing sanitary towels.

Her stomach issues continued throughout Christmas, which meant she could hardly eat and her festive period was completely ruined. Our client and her boyfriend also had a New Year holiday booked, but she still couldn’t eat and was therefore couldn’t properly enjoy the trip.

Following this holiday, she began suffering urinary problems and back pains, and became so weak that she couldn’t get up. Eventually she went to the doctor, where traces of bacteria were found in a urine sample and she was prescribed antibiotics. A subsequent lab test revealed that E. coli had been present and she was put on further antibiotics, as the previous course hadn’t resolved her issues.

She was signed off work for 2 weeks, which led to her losing out on income and experiencing stress. Furthermore, because of her E. coli infection, our client hardly ate and she lost nearly 2 stone in weight.

It was months until our client felt like she was getting back to normal and by that time, she had started a new job, and even though she felt dreadful, she felt she had to go in as she was in a probationary period.

It was nearly a year before she began having normal stools again, but her weight loss and lack of appetite continued into the following year. Her weight loss eventually stopped and she began regaining weight, but she remains sensitive to some foods and alcohol, and has short-term memory issues.

How We Helped

Our client got in touch with our Holiday Claims Solicitors to help her claim compensation from tour operator Thomas Cook.

She told our Solicitors that standards of hygiene at the Sentido Mamlouk Palace Hotel in Hurghada were well below what she’d consider acceptable, and that her health problems could have been avoided if Thomas Cook had ensured standards were met.

Our client cited food hygiene standards at the hotel’s buffet restaurant as a particular concern. During their holiday, the couple had preferred eating in the Mexican, Asian, Grill, Italian and Egyptian a la carte restaurants, but had to eat at the buffet on three occasions.

She noted a number of failings with the buffet, including:

      • Undercooked meat
      • Staff mixing serving utensils
      • Covers on the food being left open
      • Food being served warm rather than hot
      • No members of staff checking food temperatures with a probe
      • Flies in the buffet area
      • Restaurant staff not wearing hats or hairnets
      • No hand sanitiser available to use

Egypt had been on high alert because of a terrorist threat at the time of our client’s holiday, so she and her partner had stayed in the hotel for their entire stay, spending their days in the pool area.

The couple ate at the poolside snack bar and often got drinks that contained ice. Our client speculated this may have been a possible cause of her holiday sickness and asked bar staff if they had been using their own water for the ice. Although they said they weren’t, she stopped having it anyway.

She also raised concerns regarding pool hygiene at the hotel, as in the heated pool there was a rockery, with rocks covered by green algae, and there were a few broken tiles in and around the area. As the symptoms of her E. coli first started during the holiday, she argued it could only have come from the hotel as they never left the hotel for the duration of their holiday.

Our Holiday Claims Solicitors arranged a medical examination of our client to assess her medical condition and the likely causes of her infections, as well as the likely impact on her life. With this information and the client’s account of conditions at the hotel, we approached Thomas Cook to request compensation.

The Outcome

Thomas Cook agreed to pay a total of £6,250 in compensation for our client’s holiday sickness claim.

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