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£9,000 damages after hotel gastro problems wreck Egyptian holiday

A woman whose holiday was ruined after she contracted infective gastroenteritis and IBS at her Egyptian hotel has been awarded substantial damages.

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Thomson Holiday July 2014

Illness struck the graphic designer from Sheffield with her partner at the Jaz Aqua Marine Hotel, Hurgarda

Thomson's food hygiene once again the problem

Simpson Millar's Simon Lomax said: "Our client's illness was most likely caused by consuming contaminated foodstuffs during the all-inclusive, £1,819 holiday."

Our client noted a variety of incidences that she felt were cause for concern. "The public toilets weren't kept clean at the hotel," she said. "I could tell guests had suffered from diarrhoea."

"We ate at both hotel buffets and 3 of the a la carte restaurants before I became ill. There was no hand sanitiser in the eating areas, while tables and surfaces where food was served were messy.

"Staff would wipe over these surfaces from time to time, but I didn't see them using cleaning fluid."

Simon said our client and her partner frequently had to hunt for clean cutlery and plates. "They were often still quite dirty and smeared and the serving utensils were always covered in food."

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Hardly any clean cutlery

Our client added that neither she nor her partner saw anyone checking food temperatures during the holiday.

"Belittled" by reps at hotel

Even before she became ill, our client voiced her concerns about cold food with both the Thomson rep and the hotel guest relations manager.

"I felt belittled by their reaction," she said. "We were told that the head chef would be advised, and that all restaurant staff carried thermometers. This was clearly untrue; the staff blatantly lied."

Our client began to feel poorly on the night of 14 July. "I had terrible stomach pains, nausea and explosive diarrhoea."

We were told that the head chef would be advised, and that all restaurant staff carried thermometers. This was clearly untrue; the staff blatantly lied.

The following day the symptoms continued, along with fever and a raised heart rate. "I felt awful. I lost my appetite completely and became weaker and weaker."

The hotel doctor prescribed an IV drip, tablets and a sachet. "He said I had gastroenteritis," the 24-year-old said.

Other guests were also ill

Seeing little improvement, our client rarely left the hotel for the last few days of the holiday. "We were due to go on 2 excursions but I had to cancel them."

Simon Lomax added that others in the hotel suffered from the same illness.

"Staff seemed to look on this as 'business as usual'," Simon said. "Those who were employed by the hotel and Thomsons expressly to support guests gave our client the impression that an IV line, injections and medication were no more than to be expected on holiday."

While support staff asked after our client's health, there was little empathy, and no proper apology. "It felt as if we were being blamed for not following the advice given on arrival, but this wasn't true," our client said. "Every excuse was given to pass the blame to us."

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Still ill back at home

Still poorly after several days, she was admitted to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, running a very high temperature and with a fast heart rate

On returning to Sheffield, our client continued to feel ill and was prescribed antibiotics by her GP.

"I had diarrhoea several times every morning for a month after my return," our client said, adding that her GP prescribed medication and signed her off work with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. "My results were all clear, but I was advised to remove lactose from my diet."

"I have had a number of GP appointments since then and I was referred to a tropical diseases clinic. I still suffer from IBS a few times a week."

Our client said she has been affected psychologically as well as physically. "I became anxious about eating or drinking anything in case it set off my symptoms again. I would have an anxiety attack if I was leaving the house, my work life has been affected – I couldn't do my job again until 18 August, and even then I wasn't 100% – and it's taken a long time to rebuild my energy."

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"Thomson? Never again"

After receiving a compensation award of £9,000, our client concluded that Thomson was to blame for her illness

"The hotel failed to make sure the food, drink and general hygiene were up to scratch," she said.

Jaz Aqua Marine Hotel illness postcard testimonial

"There was clearly a problem, as many guests were complaining about the standards of food and of illnesses. Our holiday was completely ruined. I would never return to Egypt and I'm unlikely to use Thomson again."

Simpson Millar was "very professional and friendly, thank you."

Our client added that Simpson Millar had provided "Excellent, hassle-free service. [They] took the load off my shoulders and made it simple."

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