Crewe couple near end of their holiday hell legal battle

Boca Chica hotel illness outbreak

14.07.2006

A couple from Crewe, who had their dream holiday to the Dominican Republic ruined when they found themselves in the midst of a major illness outbreak, have reached the end of their three and a half year legal battle against their tour operators.

Christine and Christopher Perry from Coppenhall were amongst 71 holidaymakers who became ill during 2002 after staying at the Hotel Boca Chica, formally known as The Dominican Bay Hotel. Mr & Mrs Perry who were both struck down with severe gastric illness, have now been awarded £10,000 compensation.

Guests reported food being re-served, seeing animals in the restaurant and open buffets attracting flies.

The hotel and tour operator reps were inundated with complaints and were barely able to cope with the number of British tourists who became ill.

Christine and Christopher Perry flew out to the Dominican Republic for a month-long holiday in the sun on April 17th 2002.

As Mrs Perry explains: "Within two days of arriving at the hotel we started to feel ill. At first we thought it was just a change of weather and the heat, but the sickness and diarrhoea symptoms became worse. We soon realised poor restaurant conditions were probably to blame. The chefs would put freshly prepared food on top of food, which had been sitting on the buffet table for some time, and just mix it all together. There were flies all over the food and no attempt to cover things over. We stopped eating in the restaurant altogether but unfortunately our symptoms carried on.

"After about 10 days the tour operator sent in their own health and hygiene inspectors and moved us to another hotel. Even after that, we continued to be ill.

"Virtually our entire holiday was ruined, although we did manage a couple of short sight-seeing trips which were made possible thanks to a really understanding coach driver who kept pulling over for impromptu toilet stops.

"We were so relieved when we were finally able to get on the plane home. Thankfully, the plane wasn't full and the air stewardesses allowed us to stretch out across the seats and put blankets over us. There were so many people from the Boca Chica on that flight; it looked like a Red Cross evacuation!"

Mrs Perry added: "By the time I got home I had lost more than a stone in weight. Unfortunately, as a result of this holiday illness, my husband has now been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. This is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life."

Suki Chhokar a Partner from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, specialises in cases involving British holidaymakers who have suffered illness or accidents abroad. He said: "Most of our clients from the Boca Chica Hotel were suffering from vomiting, severe abdominal pains and diarrhoea.

"Many have now fully recovered but unfortunately five of our clients, including Mr Perry, have since been diagnosed by medical experts as having permanent ongoing symptoms and they will unfortunately have health problems for their rest of their lives.

"All this could have been avoided if the hotel had put in place better health and hygiene measures.

"Seventy cases have now been settled out of court against the tour operator involved but it is possible that the one remaining case may proceed to trial if an adequate settlement cannot be agreed."

Have you got a claim? If you or someone you know has been affected by holiday/hotel illness, our solicitors can help. Visit the illness abroad section.