A couple from Kent whose annual holiday to the Sea Club Resort in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, was spoilt following a bout of infective gastroenteritis have won substantial compensation from one of the UK’s largest tour operators, Thomas Cook.
Following a thorough investigation lasting six months Thomas Cook finally admitted liability for the sickness experienced by the Bennett family who they agreed to pay £10,100 in compensation for their ruined holiday.
Simon Lomax Simpson Millar’s Holiday Illness Claims manager said, "The medical experts report we obtained from a consultant gastroenterologist suggested that there were serious issues relating to the food which was buffet style."
"The food was left uncovered for long periods of time allowing access to flies."
"It was also served at lukewarm temperatures and there was no evidence of monitoring of the food temperature with probes."
"These issues supported the medical expert’s conclusions that my clients diarrhoea and abdominal pain was in keeping with bacterial food poisoning at the Sea Club Resort. However, in the absence of identifying an organism on stool culture it was not possible to determine whether the illness was bacterial or parasitic in type."
Simon continued to say, "In my opinion the symptoms have all the hallmarks of bacterial food poisoning possibly from salmonella, but this was never established. For bacterial food poisoning to happen, the following sequence of events must occur:
Poor personal hygiene – faecal contamination of the hands can be transferred to food or surface in contact with food.
Cross contamination – From food to food or surface to food or vice versa. Raw food that comes into contact with the cooked produce either directly or via work tops, cutting boards etc. can spread the bug".
Salmonella bacteria know no bounds and will often strike an unwary victim causing diarrhoea, fever, headaches, and stomach cramps. Food poisoning bacteria do not affect the taste, smell or the appearance of the food and it can severely affect the very young, the elderly, the weak and the infirm causing rapid dehydration.
Our client said, “Whilst staying at the Hotel I also noticed a number of hygiene issues which included:
The claims were brought pursuant to Regulation 15 for the improper performance of the holiday contract and a variety of allegations were put to the tour operator. Following an investigation by Thomas Cook’s legal team, liability was admitted promptly and settlement finalised.
My clients were very ill as a consequence of the poor hygiene standards experienced at the Sea Club Resort.
Mrs Bennett explained, "My illness could have been avoided had the Resort enforced food basic hygiene standards and maintained the temperature of the food correctly. When travelling with a reputable UK tour operator you do not expect to stay in a hotel with such poor food hygiene practices."
"Due to the debilitating nature of my illness the holiday was spoilt. The little food I managed to eat passed straight through me, and I was unable enjoy the numerous facilities available at the totel."
"I really wanted to be at home but knew I had to travel to get there. The thought totally freaked me because I knew I had to be near a toilet at all times."
Our clients were pleased with the result saying, "The outcome was far more than I expected. A huge thank you. You’re an absolute star. You made the whole case go extremely smoothly when times were quite difficult for me. Your level of communication was of such a high standard that I actually cannot think of anything that could be improved – such excellence in all areas."
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