Family Speaks Out After Dominican Republic Illness

Illness At Caribe Club Princess Hotel

23.05.2011


A Birmingham family of five has spoken out after two of them were hospitalised due to gastric illness while on holiday in the Dominican Republic.

Michael and Sue Smith are now taking legal action through travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell. Sue and son Jack were hospitalised after they fell ill while staying at the four-star Caribe Club Princess Hotel in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The Smiths were planning a joint celebration to celebrate Sue’s 50th and Michael’s 46th birthdays, but their plans were ruined when four members of the family were struck down with gastric illness.

The family believe that their illness was caused by poor hygiene in the hotel’s restaurants where they say they saw bird droppings and food apparently being reheated and served again later.

Other hotel guests have reported similar issues on travel review websites such as TripAdvisor, with one review claiming the food was “nothing short of slop…whatever was left over the day/week before was put in some kind of gravy or sauce mixture and served”.

Michael Smith said: “This was meant to be an idyllic Caribbean holiday and joint birthday celebration but ended up as a living nightmare. Sue collapsed unconscious and we couldn’t bring her round. I went with her in the ambulance and I remember thinking ‘I’m going to lose her – how am I going to tell the children that their Mum has died?’”

Sue was unconscious for more than an hour and a half. She was put on a drip and had to stay in hospital for 36 hours while she was treated for gastric illness and dehydration. Son Jack was also rushed to hospital and diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis and Michael and younger son John also fell ill. Only youngest daughter Ellen remained healthy.

Mr Smith added: “I’m particularly annoyed that Thomson tried to hide the true extent of the problem at this resort. The local holiday rep told me that our family were the only ones to be taken ill. However, we later discovered that he had said the same thing to two other families who had also became unwell. If they won’t even admit there’s a problem, how can they possibly learn lessons and put things right?

“Even now, my son John continues to suffer ongoing symptoms. I can hardly believe that our dream holiday turned into such a nightmare. I just hope Thomson will now have the decency to finally admit that they badly let us down.”

Lloyd Williams, a travel lawyer from Irwin Mitchell who is representing the Smith family said: “The entire family has been left extremely traumatised by what happened. Four out of five members of the group were seriously ill, two were hospitalised and one is still suffering illness to this day.

“Holiday companies have a responsibility to ensure that the hotels they send their customers to are safe and comply with health and safety regulations, which are in place to protect their guests.

“We hope that Thomson’s owner TUI UK Ltd will quickly admit liability for these failings so that the case can be settled promptly and fairly, and the Smith family can try to put their ordeal behind them.”