An NHS employee who, along with her children, suffered severe gastric illness while holidaying at an Egyptian hotel has been awarded damages with the help of Simpson Millar.
The ward sister became ill after using the swimming pool at the Coral Sea Splash, Sharm El Sheikh: a popular year-round destination for British holidaymakers.
Simpson Millar LLP's Andrew Tarling, who pursued a compensation claim against the travel operator TUI UK Ltd, said the claimant suffered a gastric intestinal disorder in December 2012 just 3 days after celebrating her 40th birthday.
"Our client became ill by way of either viral, protozoa or a bacterial parasite," Andrew said. "This was ingested as a result of consuming contaminated food, drinking water or swimming pool water provided by the all-inclusive hotel.
"We attributed the illness to the hotel's unacceptably poor standards of hygiene, with a dirty swimming pool the most likely source."
Our client confirmed that between her arrival at the hotel and the onset of her illness she consumed no food or drink other than the hotel's own package provision.
"She was perfectly well prior to her departure for the holiday and when she got to the resort," Andrew said, noting that on arrival she was given no information by her travel rep about food or water hygiene.
On 19 December she began to feel unwell, experiencing nausea, lack of appetite and abdominal cramps. Her 2 children were also affected.
"Although she reported her and her youngsters' discomfort to the travel representative, the hotel itself was not advised and presumably left none the wiser about their guests' respective conditions," Andrew observed.
The family's sensations of ill-health persisted until the end of the holiday. 3 days after returning to the UK, the symptoms intensified and the family GP diagnosed a "flu-like" illness.
After subsequent GP consultations our client and her children were conclusively diagnosed with Cryptosporidium, a parasite which is frequently found in dirty swimming pools and can reside in the lower intestine for up to 5 weeks after infection.
"Our client was very ill and so were her children," Andrew said. "This meant a ruined holiday for the whole family and a great deal of pain and inconvenience for some weeks after.
"The ward sister was forced to take time off work, not merely due to her own indisposal but because the nature of her job might have put others at risk."
With the swimming pool the most likely cause of the ward sister's illness, liability was eventually admitted by TUI after sight of comprehensive medical evidence.
"Many people are unaware that parasites and bacteria can live in swimming pools and that if they become ill from using the pool they can claim damages," Andrew concluded.
"In this case the evidence clearly favoured our client, who was satisfied to receive £7,500 in compensation.
"As we were also able to recover the NHS sickness payments, we're confident that our client's sickness record with her employers can be reset."
Praising Simpson Millar's "very professional" approach to her case, our client wrote to say she would be happy to recommend us to others who suffered holiday illness.
At time of writing we are pursuing 2 separate claims against TUI on behalf of our client's children.